As Coronavirus Spreads Fast, The US Leads The World’s Humanitarian and Health Assistance Response To The Pandemic
By Marcos Ommati / Diálogo April 01, 2020
The U.S. government has mobilized unprecedented resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and is providing substantial foreign assistance. “Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has made available nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian funding. Along with the U.S. private sector, the American people continue to lead in responding to this pandemic,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a press statement released on March 26.
Pompeo declared that the $274 million will provide resources to 64 of the world’s most at-risk countries to better combat the pandemic and enable the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to assist some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
The new amount is in addition to funding the U.S. has already provided to international organizations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF. U.S. government agencies are prioritizing foreign assistance based on the potential for impact, where the help will be used to scale up communication efforts, water and sanitation, prevent and control infections, manage COVID-19 cases, strengthen laboratories, and more.
Below are examples of the specific assistance the United States is providing for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is the region where U.S. Southern Command operates:
- Haiti: $2.2 million. The United States has invested $1.8 billion in health in Haiti and nearly $6.7 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years.
- Jamaica: $700,000. This assistance builds upon U.S. investments of nearly $87 million in health and nearly $619 million total over the past 20 years for Jamaica.
- Paraguay: $1.3 million. United States investment in Paraguay is long-term and includes more than $42 million in health and more than $456 million total over the past 20 years.
- The Caribbean: $1.7 million for countries in the Eastern Caribbean, which builds upon decades of strategic U.S. investment in the region, including more than $236 million in health and more than $840 million total over the past 20 years.
- Humanitarian assistance is also being provided to Colombia ($8.5 million) and Venezuela ($9 million). In Colombia, the United States has invested approximately $32.5 million in health over the past 20 years, and nearly $12 billion in total assistance in that same time frame. In Venezuela, the U.S. has invested more than $1.3 million in direct health assistance and more than $278 million in total long-term assistance over the past 20 years.
In addition to the March 26 investments announced by Pompeo, two weeks earlier, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which includes $1.3 billion in additional U.S. foreign assistance to help countries around the world respond to the pandemic.
Since 2009, American taxpayers have funded more than $100 billion in health assistance and nearly $70 billion in humanitarian assistance globally.