Mitchell Reports | February 25, 2013
>>> today we're proud to announce an additional $20 million commitment to the people of somalia .
>> the u.s. only recognized somalia as a government, an official government, for the first time since 1991 in january. now the head of the u.s. agency for international development has just returned from mogadishu to announce new aid for the war-ravaged country. rajid is the most senior official to visit in almost 20 years. he joins me now from washington. thank you so much, raj. good to see you. let's fauk about what's happening there, first of all. you bring the promise of $20 million in aid. it's only two years since the famine. yet, we're talking about budget cuts here at home. what do you say to people about the cuts, the affects of the sequester on foreign aid , and on our relationship with these fledgling governments in place like somalia .
>> well, thank you, andrea, for having me. you know, my main message is that this is critical to our national security . we were in somalia with -- or at the smoli kenyan border at the refugee camp just about a year and a half ago with dr. joe biden , and we met women who had walked dozens of kilometers through terrorist controlled areas to bring their children to safety in a camp. we saw more than 35,000 children under the age of 5 die in a famine because of a lack of hunger. we saw al shabab , a terrorist group that was trying to attack the united states control vast, vast territories of somali land including inmoegdy shu. last week i saw a different picture, enabled because of some of our targeted investments in that country. we've seen more than 400 communities engage in projects with us that are replacing food aid with agriculture, replacing piracy on the coast with small fishing markets so people can have effective forms of work and earning incomes and in mogadishu we're installing street lights and people are engaging in rebuilding a city and a country. this work is deeply a part of our national security in addition to being the morally right thing to do. and the united states helped end a famine, save tens of thousands of kids from dying and today we're holding hands with the partner to fight corruption, do the right things and build a viable state in a country that has been a challenge from a security perspective for our country for nearly two decades and proud of our engagement and a critical time to make the smart investments in our neighbors around the world.
>> and only yesterday the awards -- there was a clash in a port city , two rival clans. how deeply embedded is the islamic fundamentalists , some with links with al qaeda ? how deeply embedded are they still in somalia ?
>> there's a lot of work to do and we have managed to work with the international community , mostly our xhin partners who fielded a large security force to ensure security and stability. we're today working with people who went to internally displaced persons , camps in mogadishu and camps and giving them seeds and fertilizer to restart their livelihoods and rebuild their own agricultural systems and feed themselves and replace the much more costly form of food aid and humanitarian assistance . this is both about their basic dignity and their basic strategy to retake their country from a terrorist organization . as long as those types of organizations control large countries and communities, the united states is going to be at risk so this is a more efficient way of investing in the national security and for me it was very personally rewarding having met some of the mothers who lost their children. i met a mother a year and a half ago who had her young baby wrapped in a blanket because the baby passed away in the morning knowing that u.s. assistance is critical to somalia 's long term success and stability has been a point of pride.
>> thank you and thanks for everything you're doing. thank you