Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) recently visited the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis faced by the 270,000 residents of the camp. The refugees, who fled war in Sudan, now face severe hunger with food shortages.
Sen. Coons joined Mike Opelka today on "Pure Opelka" to share what he experienced and to discuss possible solutions. One idea he mentioned early on was reforming the food aid program. Currently, all food-aid commodities are required to be produced in the U.S. If this restriction were lifted, as well as the requirement for 50 percent of all goods to be shipped on American-flagged vessels, he believes there would be a significant cost savings which could translate to more food for the refugees.
"It's a program that made sense 60 years ago when the only way to deliver food to a starving world was to buy shiploads of rice and corn from Nebraska and Louisiana and put it on a ship and send it to the other side of the world."
He went on to tell Mike of his experience, which he described as "very emotional," seeing women and children who "were incredibly traumatized," having lost husbands, brothers, and other close family members to war, sometimes seeing them killed right before their eyes. Coons emphasized what these refugees have endured following the trauma of war, escaping with their lives and fleeing to safety by pointing out:
"Many of these folks had walked weeks through the swamps and the bush to get to where we were."