News / USA

    US Aid for Syrian Refugees Examined, Criticized by Lawmakers

    FILE - Syrian refugees collect water at Al Zaatri refugee camp near the border with Syria, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq.
    FILE - Syrian refugees collect water at Al Zaatri refugee camp near the border with Syria, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq.
    Michael Bowman
    U.S. officials say the Syrian refugee crisis is deepening and overwhelming the ability of aid providers to respond to a humanitarian disaster of horrific proportions. On Tuesday, U.S. lawmakers heard a sobering assessment from America’s top refugee and humanitarian aid officials and responded with impatient calls for more to be done.
     
    Syria’s civil war has displaced more than 2 million people - half of them children - and overwhelmed the ability of its neighbors to accept refugees. The State Department’s point person for refugees, Assistant Secretary Anne Richard, bluntly summarized the situation before a Senate panel on Capitol Hill.
     
    “In a sense, it is the suicide of Syria. It is such an overwhelming crisis that, even though so many lives have been saved and so many people have gotten help in the places to which they have run, it is not enough,” said Richard.
     
    Also testifying was humanitarian administrator Nancy Lindborg, of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), who described an unprecedented mobilization by governments and aid groups to funnel assistance to Syria and its neighbors, including U.S. efforts totaling $1.3 billion.
     
    “We know that humanitarian assistance is not the solution to this crisis, and it absolutely cannot end the bloodshed. But it is saving countless lives,” said Lindborg.
     
    Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was among those who challenged the Obama administration to do more.
     
    “We have been a day late and a dollar short consistently with our response to the Syrian crisis, and as a result I think there has been unnecessary human suffering,” said Whitehouse.
     
    Fellow Democratic Senator Richard Durbin said the United States should take in more Syrian refugees and do so at a faster pace. When Republican Senator Ted Cruz asked if the refugee flow is destabilizing Syria’s neighbors, Anne Richard replied in the affirmative.
     
    “It is having a devastating impact. It is undermining the stability of the region. It is no longer a Syria crisis, it is a regional crisis,” explained Richard.
     
    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the humanitarian disaster would grow even more dire if countries like Jordan and Lebanon sealed their borders with Syria, and urged the officials present to draw up contingency plans for a worst-case scenario in the year to come.
     
    “I am giving you an opportunity to tell us that maybe the worst is yet to come and prepare members of Congress who are sympathetic what kind of bill [funding request] you may send us. I would suggest to take this opportunity to sit down and write out what we may be facing as a nation in terms of our obligations to stabilize the region,” said Graham.
     
    USAID’s Nancy Lindborg said worst-case scenarios have been envisioned - and repeatedly exceeded by the situation in and around Syria.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora