Ukraine conflict could lead to increase in global starvation, says NGO

International aid agency World Vision on March 11 warned that the conflict in Ukraine is not only devastating the lives of those directly impacted, but also worsening the hunger crisis in dozens of other nations. 

“The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in a spike in the global price of wheat, up to its highest level since 2008 when the world had its last severe global food price crisis. This is due to the fact that Russia and Ukraine export 29% – almost one third – of the world’s wheat.   Wheat is an essential product, provided to those experiencing, or at risk of, starvation” said Amanda Rives, Senior Director, External Engagement & Resource Development Disaster Management. 

UN World Food Program’s (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley recently said that as they obtain half their grain from the Ukraine-Russia area, the conflict could inhibit the organization’s ability to reach 120 million of the world’s most vulnerable people. 

As WFP’s largest partner, World Vision is extremely concerned for millions of people already on the brink of starvation.  The agency calls on the international community to ensure ration cuts, as a result of fallout from this conflict, are avoided.  

Rives shared: “The impact of COVID-19 saw donor governments reduce food aid funding for the world’s poorest and hungriest people last year, and now the conflict in Ukraine is likely to lead to further risk to food aid. 

“Families, who have been forced to flee their homes in countries like Afghanistan, Syria and South Sudan, often because of conflict, are now dependent on this nutritional support to survive. And that very basic food aid could be cut further unless the international community acts now.” 

While World Vision is on the ground, responding within Ukraine and in surrounding countries, it is also providing support to millions of others experiencing the impacts of conflict, climate change and COVID-19 around the world.  

Rives said: “As the world’s eyes focus on the crisis in Ukraine, there is another silent crisis taking place as millions of people worldwide are on the brink of famine. Many of these are children, who have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict and have little or no access to food as a result.

“And now, the conflict in Ukraine could mean that the small lifesaving rations they currently receive, could be cut or even stopped completely. These children need, and deserve, international support to ensure that they too survive.”

Photo credit: iStock/ wjarek

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