SANA’A / ROME – A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)-charted vessel departed today from the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Yuznhy (Pivdennyi) with wheat grain destined for the agency’s humanitarian response in Yemen.

This is the second maritime shipment of U.N. World Food Programme food assistance to leave Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict in February. The MV Karteria, carrying 37,000 metric tons of wheat grain, will stop first in Turkey, where the grain will be milled into flour. It will then be shipped to Yemen, where over 17 million people are struggling with severe hunger – a figure that is expected to rise in the coming months.

The grain will provide a 110 pound bag of wheat flour to nearly 4 million people for one month and will help the U.N. World Food Programme address immediate gaps in assistance.

“The war in Ukraine has been the last straw in Yemen against a backdrop of prolonged conflict, the resulting economic crisis and dwindling funds for humanitarian response,” said U.N. World Food Programme Representative and Country Director in Yemen Richard Ragan. “It is paramount to get commodities flowing back into the country and especially grain – for humanitarian and commercial purposes. This is vital to keep prices at bay.”

Getting Ukrainian grain to the U.N. World Food Programme’s humanitarian operations in Yemen will ensure a double benefit to both Ukraine’s economy and famine-risk populations in areas of the world hardest hit by the global food crisis such as Yemen. Yemen is particularly reliant on direct imports of wheat flour – a key staple in Yemenis’ diet – from Russia and Ukraine. An estimated 46% of Yemen’s 2021 wheat imports came from Ukraine and Russia.

The deterioration of global food security is caused by multiple factors with the impact of the Ukraine crisis, including the loss of Ukrainian’s grain on global markets as well as the impact on fuel and fertilizer prices, adding further pressure. This has now pushed this number of severely hungry people to a record 345 million in 82 countries.

There is no single solution to the global food crisis, but the unblocking of Ukraine’s seaborne exports will address some global supply disruptions and allow Ukraine to empty its grain storage silos ahead of the summer season harvest. The increasing traffic in and out of Ukraine’s port is a positive signal, but it remains far below pre-conflict averages.

This shipment is the product of strong collaboration between the government sector and the private sector, which is key in our response to the global food crisis. The shipment is possible thanks to generous contributions from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and the foundation of Howard G. Buffett, a long-time U.N. World Food Programme supporter who formerly served seven years as a Goodwill Ambassador.

Video is available for use by news organizations. Please contact: marco.frattini@wfp.org

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

YUZHNY / ROME – The first maritime shipment of Ukrainian wheat grain for humanitarian operations run by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) left Ukraine’s Yuzhny (Pivdennyi) port yesterday. The shipment marks another important milestone in efforts to get much needed Ukrainian grain out of the conflict-hit country, back into global markets and to countries worst affected by the global food crisis.

The shipment of over 50 million pounds of wheat grain will go to the U.N. World Food Programme’s humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa where the threat of famine stalks the drought-hit region. It is one of many areas around the world where the near complete halt of Ukrainian grain and food on global market has made life even harder for families already struggling with rising hunger.

“Getting the Black Sea Ports open is the single most important thing we can do right now to help the world’s hungry,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley. “It will take more than grain ships out of Ukraine to stop world hunger, but with Ukrainian grain back on global markets we have a chance to stop this global food crisis from spiraling even further.”

A record 345 million people in 82 countries are now facing severe hunger while up to 50 million people in 45 countries are right on the edge of famine and risk being tipped over without humanitarian support.

With commercial and humanitarian maritime traffic now resuming in and out of Ukraine’s Black Sea port, some global supply disruptions will ease with relief for countries facing the worst of the global food crisis. It will also allow Ukraine to empty its grain storage silos ahead of the summer season harvest.

Despite these positive developments, the world still faces an unprecedented food crisis. Immediate action is needed that brings together the humanitarian community, governments and the private sector to save lives and invest in long term solutions. Failure will cause people around the world to slip into devastating famines with destabilizing impacts felt by all.

This export of wheat is the product of strong collaboration between the private sector – which is key in our response to the global food crisis – and the government sector. The U.N. World Food Programme could not have arranged this shipment without critical emergency funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, as well as significant contributions from the foundation of the long-time U.N. World Food Programme supporter and former Goodwill Ambassador Howard G. Buffett and Minderoo Foundation, the Australian philanthropic organization of Andrew and Nicola Forrest.

Video is available for use by news organizations. Please contact: Jonathan.Dumont@wfp.org

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA

ROME: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is working with Uber Technologies Inc, a global mobility and delivery platform, to transport emergency assistance to people in need in urban areas across Ukraine through the use of a custom-built version of Uber’s platform.

With larger vehicles facing issues reaching those in need in built-up areas, collaboration with Uber allows the U.N. World Food Programme to better coordinate, dispatch and track a fleet of smaller vehicles delivering relief items from warehouses to people in need in densely populated areas of Ukraine.

Through this platform, the U.N. World Food Programme can get its food closer to those people needing its support, dispatching deliveries in various sizes of vehicle, tracking each trip to its destination and confirming deliveries have been made safely.

Through this collaboration, the U.N. World Food Programme has already delivered food from its warehouse in Dnipro to other parts of the city, ready for distribution. Further deliveries are also ongoing in other parts of the country, including Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Chernivtsi. The progress of deliveries can be tracked in real-time through the platform.

“The U.N. World Food Programme is playing a critical role in providing food and cash assistance to those most affected by the war in Ukraine. This technology helps the U.N. World Food Programme facilitate its response and improves how we serve communities in Ukraine that rely on us,” said Matthew Hollingworth, the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency coordinator in Ukraine. “It enhances our access to Ukrainian businesses within Uber’s network, making our operations more efficient while also harnessing local capacities.”

“Uber is thrilled to be working with the U.N. World Food Programme to help them more efficiently distribute emergency food relief across Ukraine, by providing free access to a customized version of the Uber platform,” said CEO of Uber Dara Khosrowshahi. “Using our technology, the U.N. World Food Programme can now schedule, dispatch, track and manage deliveries by a network of cars and small vans to final distribution points within a 60 mile radius of U.N. World Food Programme warehouses across the country.”

This work is in addition to a $250,000 donation made by Uber to World Food Program USA to support the emergency response in Ukraine. “We thank Uber for helping us deliver critical humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. Private sector collaborations like this are critical in helping us deploy innovative, custom solutions to address complex challenges,” said President and CEO of World Food Program USA Barron Segar.

The U.N. World Food Programme has rapidly scaled up its operations in and around Ukraine over the past three months. By the end of June, the U.N. World Food Programme will be providing food and cash to more than 3 million people per month in the country.

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About WFP: The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media

About Uber: Uber’s mission is to create opportunity through movement. We started in 2010 to solve a simple problem: how do you get access to a ride at the touch of a button? More than 30 billion trips later, we’re building products to get people closer to where they want to be. By changing how people, food, and things move through cities, Uber is a platform that opens up the world to new possibilities.

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ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is today calling for the re-opening of the ports in the Odessa area of southern Ukraine so that food being produced in the war-torn country can flow freely to the rest of the world, before the current global hunger crisis spins out of control

“Right now, Ukraine’s grain silos are full. At the same time, 44 million people around the world are marching towards starvation. We have to open up these ports so that food can move in and out of Ukraine. The world demands it because hundreds of millions of people globally depend on these supplies,” U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said. “We’re running out of time and the cost of inaction will be higher than anyone can imagine. I urge all parties involved to allow this food to get out of Ukraine to where it’s desperately needed so we can avert the looming threat of famine.”

With ports blocked because of the war, millions of metric tons of grain are sitting in silos in Odessa and other Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea. More grain is stranded on ships unable to move because of the conflict.

Unless the ports are reopened, Ukrainian farmers will have nowhere to store the next harvest in July/August. The result will be mountains of grain going to waste while the U.N. World Food Programme and the world struggle to deal with an already catastrophic global hunger crisis.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s analysis found that 276 million people worldwide were already facing acute hunger at the start of 2022. That number is expected to rise by 47 million people if the conflict in Ukraine continues, with the steepest rises in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before the war, most of the food produced by Ukraine – enough to feed 400 million people – was exported through the country’s seven Black Sea ports. In the eight months before the conflict began, close to 51 million metric tons of grain transited through the ports.

The disruption caused by the war has already pushed prices on food commodity markets well above the record highs reached earlier this year. In the month after the crisis started, export prices for wheat and maize rose by 22% and 20% respectively, on top of steep rises in 2021 and early 2022.

Food price hikes, coupled with the soaring cost of fuel, are driving up the U.N. World Food Programme’s operational costs by up to $71 million a month, effectively reducing its ability to respond to hunger crises around the world. This is equivalent to the cost of providing almost 4 million people with a daily ration for one month.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media

CAIRO – As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, the soaring cost of food staples in import-dependent Middle Eastern and North African countries is creating ever greater challenges for millions of families already struggling to keep hunger at bay, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday.

Traditionally a month of festivities, when families gather over traditional foods to break their day-long fast, this year millions will be struggling to buy even the most basic foods for their families as the war in Ukraine has pushed food prices even higher than the troubling levels at the start of the year.

“We are extremely concerned about the millions of people in this region who are already struggling to access enough food because of a toxic combination of conflict, climate change and the economic aftermath of COVID-19,” said Corinne Fleischer, U.N. World Food Programme regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “People’s resilience is at a breaking point. This crisis is creating shockwaves in the food markets that touch every home in this region. No one is spared.”

The knock-on effect of the Ukraine crisis is adding further strain to the import-dependent region. The prices of wheat flour and vegetable oil – two key staples in the diet of most families – have consequently risen across the region. Cooking oil is up 36% in Yemen and 39% in Syria. Wheat flour is up 47% in Lebanon, 15% in Libya and 14% in Palestine.

Even prior to the conflict in Ukraine, inflation and increasing prices were putting basic food items beyond the reach of the most vulnerable. Food prices reached an all-time high in February 2022, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index.

The cost of a basic food basket – the minimum food needs per family per month – registered an annual increase of 351% in Lebanon, the highest in the region. It was followed by Syria, with a 97% rise, and Yemen with 81% hike. The three countries, all reliant on food imports, also reported sharp currency depreciation. Meanwhile, a drought in Syria has impacted the country’s annual wheat production.

With global prices rising, the U.N. World Food Programme’s meagre resources for operations in the region, especially in Yemen and Syria, will be under even more pressure than before. In both countries, conflict and the related economic shrinkage have left more than 29 million people in need of food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme is supporting nearly 19 million people in the two countries.

The global food price hikes and the Ukraine conflict have resulted in the U.N. World Food Programme facing an additional cost of $71 million per month for global operations compared to 2019 – a 50% rise.

“The Ukraine crisis makes a bad funding situation worse. There are immediate humanitarian needs that demand attention. Donors have in recent years helped us provide food to millions in the region. Now the situation is critical and it’s time to be even more generous,” added Fleischer.

The U.N. World Food Programme currently has only 24% of the funding it needs in Syria and 31% of what it needs in Yemen. Due to funding constraints, the U.N. World Food Programme has already been forced to reduce food rations in both countries. Further reductions risk pushing people towards starvation.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media, @WFPYemen and @WFP_MENA

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