Economy

Failure to reopen Ukraine's ports tantamount to 'war' on food security: WFP head

Devastating global hunger crisis at our doorstep, warns UN World Food Programme

Aysu Bicer   | 23.05.2022
Failure to reopen Ukraine's ports tantamount to 'war' on food security: WFP head

ANKARA

Failure to open up Ukraine's ports is a declaration of war on global food security, the head of the UN World Food Programme said on Monday.

David Beasley, the organization's executive director, told a panel at the World Economic Forum, that opening these ports, currently blocked amid the Russia-Ukraine war, would help secure food stability.

"With a devastating global hunger crisis at our doorstep, it is all hands on deck to pull millions back from the brink of famine. We need everyone's help to save lives today: from world leaders to the private sector and billionaires," he said while speaking at the forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

Beasley also warned European countries of the implications of people going hungry. "You don't need to worry just about what's happening to the east of you, you also need to worry about what’s happening to the south of you. Every 1% increase in hunger leads to a 2% increase in migration."

The "bread basket of the world" now has bread queues, he said, adding: "We are taking from the hungry to give to the starving. We will have famines -- 49 million knocking on famine's doors in 33 countries."

Food crisis

The outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war has sent grain prices skyrocketing as both countries had long been major global suppliers.

This has added to the burden of countries like Yemen and Afghanistan, which were already contending with major humanitarian emergencies.

Rising food prices has also hit, for instance, the Southern African nation of Namibia, where a quarter of households risk facing malnutrition, with their livelihoods at risk.

In Central America, too, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are also highly dependent on grain imports, with significant shares of their population already facing acute food insecurity.

Smaller African countries like Djibouti, Lesotho, and Eswatini also face similar risks.

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