The stark photographic evidence of starving Ethiopian children challenges the world. More must be done, first to get food into those swollen little stomachs and then to get at the causes of famine. President Reagan proposes to start with an increase in U.S. African relief aid of $235 million. Some members of Congress rightly think that the United States can afford to do much more.
The United States has spent $590 million on aid to Africa in the first three months of this fiscal year, some under routine assistance programs but most in the form of emergency funds. The President has proposed $235 million in supplemental aid. The magnitude of the problem dictates that Congress do more.
Three members of the House subcommittee on Africa who are leading the congressional aid effort have proposed $787 million in supplemental aid. Some of that money would be spent on transportation so that the food would reach the people for whom it would be intended. Reps. Howard Wolpe (D-Mich.), Ted Weiss (D-N.Y.) and Mickey Leland (D-Tex.) also advocate sending $225 million in aid to promote longer-term recovery--that is, medicine as well as seeds and fertilizer. Last year a similar House proposal spurred appropriations not as high as the congressmen asked but higher than the Administration intended.