Channel 1 Los Angeles
Bonnie Glick, USAID Deputy Administrator
James L. Richardson, Director Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources
MS ORTAGUS: Well, let’s go ahead and get started, everybody. This is Morgan, spokesperson. I just want to remind everybody that everything that we discuss on this call is embargoed until the end of the call, and this call will be on the record.
So the U.S. Government is rapidly mobilizing unprecedented resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic both home and abroad. Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has made available nearly 274 million in emergency health and humanitarian funding, continuing the American people’s leadership in responding to this pandemic.
To help expand and explain on this announcement further, we have joining us for this on-the-record call Bonnie Glick, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and James Richardson, Director of the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Assistance Resources.
Bonnie will begin with some opening remarks and then turn it over to Jim, and then we’ll take a few questions. Ruben has given out his phone number, which you could go ahead and text if you’d like to ask a question. And just another reminder for a few people that dialed in late, this briefing is embargoed until the end of the call and it is on the record.
MS GLICK: Morgan, thank you so much. Good afternoon, everyone. I hope that you’re all well and that everyone is feeling healthy today. It is weird to be giving a press briefing without being able to see all of you, but I trust that won’t dampen our spirits at all.
We wanted to talk to you today about a story that we feel hasn’t gotten enough attention, and that is how the United States is leading the global effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically with regards to global health and humanitarian assistance.
Under the direction of President Trump, the United States Government is responding rapidly. The U.S. was among the first nations to offer help to the Chinese people, and we are the largest financial backers of the World Health Organization and UNICEF. In early February, the United States delivered more than 17 tons of medical supplies to China donated by the American people. These supplies included masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials.
Secretary Pompeo’s announcement today brings us to a total of $274 million in funding for 64 of the most at-risk countries facing the threat of this global pandemic, including the $100 million that Secretary Pompeo announced on February 2nd.
The announcement of $110 million from the International Disaster Assistance Account will be provided into at-risk countries through multilateral organizations and implementing partners to support humanitarian assistance needs resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. This funding will support countries by providing protective services, water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, livelihood assistance, and humanitarian response coordination in order to mitigate the broader economic stabilization and security effects of the outbreak.
This funding will target the following high-priority countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Africa, Tajikistan, the Philippines, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Ethiopia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
This new assistance builds on the United States record of global health leadership. For decades, the United States has been the world’s largest provider of bilateral assistance in public health. The U.S. has saved lives, protected people who are most vulnerable to disease, built health institutions, and promoted the stability of communities and nations. In only the last 20 years, USAID and the Department of State have invested nearly $120 billion in public health worldwide. We’re on the front lines in the fight against Ebola. We support countries in their battles against HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. And we will drive the global response to the novel coronavirus disease even as we battle it on the home front. We welcome continued no-strings-attached contributions from other donors to further catalyze the global response efforts underway as we fight this deadly pathogen.
The United States and the American people represent the most generous nation in the world when it comes to foreign assistance. We represent this generosity through government, industry, foundations, nonprofits, the faith community, and every American. It’s who we are as a nation. In the battle against coronavirus, we are saving lives, not saving face.