US Vice-President’s Wife Jill Biden Arrives at Famine Zone with Two Planes, a 29 Car Convoy and CNN

Mike Pflanz, Telegraph (London), August 8, 2011

Watching the wife of the US vice-president touring the world’s biggest refugee camp for famine-hit Somalis was a scrum of television cameramen, international reporters and Washington staffers thumbing their BlackBerrys.

A circle of secret-service agents, their oversized shirts flattened by the hot wind onto the outlines of bullet-proof vests and pistols beneath, fanned out, watching ‘the perimeter’.

Parked off to the side, waiting to whisk the visitors back to the airport, was a convoy of 29 polished vehicles, including armoured US embassy Land Cruisers driven the eight hours up from Nairobi the day before.

This is what it looks like when the biggest VIP circus so far comes for a two-and-a-half-hour visit to Dadaab.

The Kenyan town today hosts 440,000 Somali refugees in sprawling camps that are now the accessible epicentre of the international famine relief effort.

“All this is a necessary evil,” said one senior aid worker, watching CNN’s Anderson Cooper interview Mrs Biden against a backdrop of refugees newly-arrived from Somalia squatting waiting for food and water.

What is necessary about this duet between the media and the aid world is finding funds to fight the famine.

Figures from Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee showed yesterday that the response so far is dwarfed by that for recent natural disasters, including in Haiti, Pakistan and the Indian Ocean after the tsunami.

A little over half of the GBP1.5 billion needed for the Horn of Africa famine and drought has been raised.

To coincide with the Second Lady’s visit, President Obama was yesterday expected to announce a fresh injection of £60 million of US aid for the crisis.

Mrs Biden said she was here to “raise awareness” among ordinary Americans of the “dire situation” of the famine and drought now leaving 12.5 million Kenyans, Somalis and Ethiopians in need of urgent food aid.

US officials privately agreed that the main thrust of the visit was to get the story onto American television channels, which have been slower to report on the crisis than in other countries.

News programmes filled with shots of refugees with Mrs Biden, a full-time college teacher with no previous experience of international aid, would “catalyse Americans’ responses to the famine”, one Washington staffer said.

But for overstretched aid agencies and the refugees waiting for help, it was not immediately clear how yesterday’s whirlwind visit would make a difference.

“It is getting ridiculous, how much time we have to spend dealing with this stuff,” said another senior humanitarian official. “This is twice the size of any delegation we’ve had so far.”

It took two full days to prepare for the US visit yesterday.

Advance teams of special forces troops and secret service agents demanded full dress rehearsals and extended security sweeps.

Two US Army Hercules C-130 aircraft were flown in–one as a backup in case of technical hitches–to transfer the Americans to Dadaab from their overnight flight from Washington. They would fly home the same day.

Refugees at the reception centre, including Fatuma Adem, the mother with four children filmed talking with Mrs Biden, were readied in advance. Others stood watching bemused at the scrum of foreigners.

“I don’t know who she is. I just hope she can help my family,” Mrs Adem said after meeting the Second Lady.

Bill Frist, the former Senate majority leader, who accompanied Mrs Biden, was candid that the reason for the trip was to use media coverage “to reach a million people that would otherwise not be reached”.

As the convoy prepared to load up and speed back to the waiting Hercules, the senior aid worker sighed and said, “maybe I can have my camp back now”.

MrsBiden.jpg

Famine victim and Jill Biden

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  • NBJ

    Mrs Biden said she was here to “raise awareness” among ordinary Americans of the “dire situation” of the famine and drought now leaving 12.5 million Kenyans, Somalis and Ethiopians in need of urgent food aid.

    Another out of touch elite. A lot of these ordinary Americans are in dire situtions themselves in case she hasn’t noticed. More people than ever need help, and I’m talking about folk who have NEVER asked for anything. What are these Africans going to do when the USA goes belly up and can’t feed our own? I think most people are sick to death of Africa and their perpetual “situation”. Even after decades and billions, nothing ever changes there, and it never will. Time to let nature take it’s course.

  • True Blue

    Does this scene remind anyone else of the Camp of Saints, or is it just me?

    On the other hand; and I cannot state this often enough or forcibly enough; All this is doing is making the problem worse.

    30 years ago, I remember the sobbing liberals on TV telling me how ‘for less than the cost of a cup of coffee…’ etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    And what wonderous ‘change’ did they accompish? For every single person they fed then, there are now between 8-64 mouths to feed, because they helped starving parents irresponsibly bring more starving, worthless children into the world, who in turn were fed, given medical care and each turned out even More starving mouths to feed.

    That is why I only donate to the ASPCA; at least they believe in birth control to keep the population of unwanted animals managable.

  • BannerRWB

    White Man’s Burden

    White Man’s Guilt

    White Man’s Naivete’

    White Man’s Suicide

    When will we learn that we CAN NOT change these people into White people!? We can not bring them all to America and honestly believe that America will be better for it. We can not stand by and do nothing while they destroy their productive (White, by the way) farming communities and kill each other through tribal genocides and then blame the starvation on “nature”. Never again will I donate to Africa or Africans (American or otherwise) – I only wish I had learned this lesson much, much sooner in life.

  • Veritas

    I wonder how many of the refugees are going to be given visas to go to America?

  • oSKIP

    Somalia is ALWAYS in famine since the blacks keep breeding beyone what nature intends the land to be able to support. These people are like feeding cats at the back door (which my wife does) No food=no kittens, food=more kittens than I feel like supporting at the back door! Same thing with black Somali muslims. And isn’t it grand of the Obamuslim to send $120 MILLION to feed starving blacks!next year there will be 10 times that number of starving blacks and it will take 10 times the money to feed them, which of course will = MORE starving blacks and on and on and on like cats at the back door.

  • Ben

    Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is the old definition of insanity.

    I’m not against helping those who are less fortunate but we have an obligation to ourselves first.

    Liberals think things are bad now…what will happen we are no longer able to support such causes?

  • Anonymous

    I would far more desire to help poor Native American Indians than Muslim miscreants from Africa!

  • Anonymous

    I remember the famines of the 1980s. We saved millions, who just stayed in refugee camps, ate seeds and grain from the bag, had tens of millions more children, who had tens of millions more.

    I believe Ethiopia’s population is roughly double what it was 30 years ago. Born starving, kept alive to starve and wreak hellish havoc…

    Their death is a terrible suffering, but we must cut Africa loose, totally. They can not survive on their own. They need a population 10 times smaller.

    But that fact is obviated by the stark reality that the USA is in a depression, NOT a recession. Soon, we may be in collapse.

    No one is going to give to Africa.

  • eduard

    The old saying “charity begins at home” applies here. Let nature take care of Africa, They are nothing but breeders, half dead of whatever, but they still have enough energy to breed. Send them food with whatever-will-stop-them-breeding will help them and nature. We are working against the forces of nature if we give them aid, and it will be at our own peril.

  • Brian

    60 years ago we were endlessly told about “The Poor starving

    Africans”. Today. we’re STILL endlessly told about “The Poor starving Africans”.

    NOTHING has changed in all that time. Our Billions and Billions of Dollars have brought about… MORE starving Africans.

    Africa is the most Fertile, productive continent on the face of the planet, with year-round growing seasons, and they’re STILL starving! In fact, they’re destroying their Environment at an incredible rate.

    What UN people and PC types refuse to tell our Children is ‘Farming 101’. Some plants take nitrogen from soil and deplete it, others add nitrogen. The key to successful farming is to alternate crops or give land time to recover.

    The Black ‘farmers’ grow the same crop year after year till the Land literally dies. They don’t listen to advice, don’t learn from mistakes. They move on, burn down another patch of Forest and repeat the process. The land takes years to recover. But by then its taken over by shanty towns.

    But PC types keep on showing our Kids the withered crops that result, saying it’s the fault of the Weather, saying we need to feed them and give them our money. No amount of money will fix Stupid. The entire US budget would NOT help Somalia!

    In Zimbabwe and South Africa, the Black leaders tell their people and Western media “The Whites took the best land for themselves”, when their own low-IQ farmers fail time and again. The few that are working the former White-managed farms are reducing them to deserts yet again.

  • Anonymous

    Just look at Jill Biden, indulging her God complex at the expense of a starving woman, who doesn’t care about anything but the pain she is obviously in. I wonder what she had for breakfast before going down to comfort the starving with her touch and kind words?

    I have never been able to stand people like this. She could have at least brought some food to the ones she was going to exploit in photo opts. To me, this is the picture of Western vanity and hypocrisy.

  • cliff yablonski

    Somalia’s population in 1950 = 2 million. They were starving then, but with aid from the west, Somalia’s current starving population has grown to 10 million.

    With more aid they will eventually become 100 million starving.

  • fred

    There is only one thing those people need — China’s one child policy.

  • Laager

    Three points:

    (1) Does anyone know how much the other 50 independent nations on the African continent are donating to ease the suffering of their bothers?

    (2) The law of cause and effect. Other readers have correctly pointed out that food and medical aid to these non (commercial) producers only produces more mouths to feed and ultimately increases the aid budgets from the G8 nations. When will the west wise up and only spend aid on education so that these populations can learn to take care of themselves?

    Food and medical aid from the west has upset the balance of nature in Africa. In the past natural disasters, wars and famine kept the population in check. These natural safeguards have now been removed. The result is that the human population increases and needs more space on which to live and grow food. The knock on effect is that wildlife habitats become smaller and smaller and their populations are threatened. Monitor the increase in wildlife charities in your areas that now have to take care of protecting threatened species.

    (3) Irish journalist Kevin Myers wrote aan article on this topic in 2008

    See:http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-356768.0.html

    For telling the truth he was charged with hate speech.

    See:http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/2954

    Absolutely no-one (his editor included) came to his defence.

    See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Myers

    Spread the word and get race realists around the world to stand up quote Presidents Mbeki and Zuma from South Africa:

    “African solutions for African problems”

    The odds are that in this case the “solution” will be no action at all.

  • S.L. Cain

    The only thing we’ve ever gotten from giving aid to Africa was more Africans.

  • Anonymous

    There’s something deeply obscene and surrealistic about these displays. The lavish excess in the middle of a refugee camp–the redundant aircraft “in case something goes wrong”–the huge motorcade and entourage–the heavily armed Secret Service agents. It’s really mind-boggling. This Biden trip must have cost millions of fiat dollars to produce–more money than these refugees will ever see in their entire lives, not to mention most Americans. I’m at a loss to describe scenes like this. They’re like narcissistic, Felliniesque stage shows where wealthy establishment liberals use starving Africans as props to display their “compassion” (and prop up their support among blacks at home in the process). And when you consider the fact that none of these Save Africa media events and fundraising drives have had the slightest effect on anything–in fact, have probably made the situation worse over there–the whole thing becomes totally absurd. But that’s America in the 21st Century, isn’t it? The US has never been completely sane, but we’ve gone over the edge into total, mind-numbing absurdity.

  • Shawn (the female)

    I give no money to anyone who solicits it. I will give individually to persons who I know can use it and will use it ethically and appreciate it.

  • Shawn (the female)

    I give no money to anyone who solicits it. I will give individually to persons who I know can use it and will use it ethically and appreciate it.

    I will give no time, energy or money to Africa or any other foreign country. None. I would, however, give all of the above to personally dispense NorPlant to the entire continent of Africa. (And many other places, including in the U.S.)

  • cpascal

    When I read this story, my first thought was that if Jill Biden really wanted to help the Africans, it would have been better to spend the money which was spent on the trip on food and medicine for them instead. The trip must have cost millions, which is an especially large amount of money in Africa. Then when I read some of the comments which point out that sending aid to Africa only makes the problem worse, as the Africans only produce more people who’ll suffer in future famines. It is amazing how the Africans and other Third Worlders can keep reproducing and reproducing, and yet it doesn’t occur to most of them that having too many children is a major part of their problems.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a desert. It can only support about 1 person per square mile. It is evil of our government to keep feeding those people in order to maintain the overpopulation which causes famine and misery.

    Our food gifts cause more little children to be born and then to suffer.

    If the USA was kind, instead of evil, we would steralize instead of feed.

  • Anonymous

    I have a better chance visting hell on my next vacation, than i do giving this groundhogs day situation a cent of my money…. TO BAD BARRY ALREADY GAVE THEM OUR TAX DOLLARS…

  • Anonymous

    “liberals are so open-minded that their brains fell out”

    when will this foolishness end??

  • Anonymous

    All food aid does is to enable these ignorant people to continue to overbreed and exhaust the land. We are actually making the situation far worse by our misguided intervention, just as our previous interventions in the 80’s and 90’s helped to create the current mess. Look at Ireland in the 1840’s. Between 8-9 million people barely subsisting on a meagre potato crop. Then a disastrous famine hit. Today 170 years later, the Island’s population is about half what it was then. But the standard of living is incomparably higher and Ireland has never had another famine since. Had there been television and CNN then, people would probably have given aid and nobody would have starved. And then Ireland would have had another famine about thirty years later, say in 1875. The cycle would have endlessly repeated itself. We’d probably have 40-50 million Irish living the most meager and miserable of existences in a basketcase of an island, a kind of super-Haiti.

  • Dave

    “Somalia’s population in 1950 = 2 million. They were starving then, but with aid from the west, Somalia’s current starving population has grown to 10 million.

    With more aid they will eventually become 100 million starving.”

    This quote is spot on. Somalia has one of the highest birth rates in the world at approximately 6 children per female. The famine is just nature taking it’s course. It is sad that human beings have to suffer and die prematurely, but unless the international community effectively encourages Somalia to stop producing so many Somalis, starvation for some is the inevitable outcome.

  • Anonymous

    2 — True Blue wrote at 7:06 PM on September 19:

    Does this scene remind anyone else of the Camp of Saints, or is it just me?

    On the other hand; and I cannot state this often enough or forcibly enough; All this is doing is making the problem worse.

    30 years ago, I remember the sobbing liberals on TV telling me how ‘for less than the cost of a cup of coffee…’ etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    And what wonderous ‘change’ did they accompish? For every single person they fed then, there are now between 8-64 mouths to feed, because they helped starving parents irresponsibly bring more starving, worthless children into the world, who in turn were fed, given medical care and each turned out even More starving mouths to feed.

    That is why I only donate to the ASPCA; at least they believe in birth control to keep the population of unwanted animals managable.

    ————————————————————–

    EXACTLY! I only donate to the no kill shelters and the ASPCA. I have personally had stray cats spayed after catching them in a cage and paying for it myself. Then I brought them (2 female beautiful furry cats)back to their habitat and feed them and they are fine( 9 years now) and they never roam around and stay where they were from since the time they were born. They were in back of my apt. when I moved in coming through a fence that separated the apts from some houses to the side of us. Guess you can tell I love cats.

  • Anonymous

    There is no way to save africa except to stop meddling in it. While white nations have declined in population black population in africa and worldwide is skyrocketing.

    Its dumb to waste food resources on africans.

  • Anonymous

    Somalia’s population in 1950 = 2 million. They were starving then, but with aid from the west, Somalia’s current starving population has grown to 10 million.

    With more aid they will eventually become 100 million starving.

    ———————————

    that’s exactly what whites want.. more blacks suffering…….

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t anybody remember those American soldiers, with their clothes stripped off being dragged around the streets of Mogadishu? And they expect us to feed them? Forget about it!