LVIV – One month into the conflict in Ukraine, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency food assistance to 1 million people in the country and has built systems able to deliver food at scale to communities in need. Trucks, trains and mini vans are today delivering food supplies to the most vulnerable people across the country and more convoys are expected in coming days.

Following a massive scale-up of operations, the U.N. World Food Programme has provided 330,000 loaves of freshly baked bread to families in the city of Kharkiv, cash assistance to displaced people in Lviv and ready-to-eat food in various parts of the country. U.N. World Food Programme emergency food supplies have also made it to the conflict areas of Sumy and Kharkiv through two interagency humanitarian convoys. These achievements come despite a volatile security situation, difficulties finding partners on the ground and the challenges of serving a population on the move.

“Just one month ago, we had no presence on the ground, no staff, no network of suppliers or partners. To build an operation from the ground up and get food to 1 million people seemed a monumental challenge,” said Jakob Kern, the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency coordinator for Ukraine. “Now that the structures are in place, we need the funding to keep delivering assistance, and to help 3 million people in need.”

Over 6.5 million people are displaced inside Ukraine and the pre-conflict supply chain systems for feeding the country’s population have broken down. According to the preliminary findings of a remote assessment by the U.N. World Food Programme, food is among the top three concerns for people inside Ukraine, along with safety and fuel for transportation.

The U.N. World Food Programme estimates that 45% of the population are worried about finding enough to eat. In a country which used to grow food for 400 million people around the world, one person in five now reports having to reduce the size and number of their meals while adults skip meals so their children can eat. Close to 4 million people – mainly women and children – have fled the conflict and become refugees in neighboring countries.

“We’re talking about a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe,” U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley told the United Nations Security Council in a briefing on Tuesday. “We would have never dreamed anything like this would be possible. And it’s not just decimating Ukraine and the region. It will have a global impact beyond anything we’ve seen since World War II.”

The conflict in Ukraine is triggering a wave of collateral hunger elsewhere in the world. Global food prices have increased sharply since the onset of the conflict – reaching an all-time high in February 2022. These hikes will affect local food prices and further limit access to food for millions of people who are already under stress because of food inflation in their countries.

“The consequences of the conflict are radiating outwards,” said U.N. World Food Programme Regional Director Corinne Fleischer. “Higher prices mean more people around the world will fall into hunger. At the same time, we at the U.N. World Food Programme also have to pay more for the food we buy, so our operations to help those people also take a hit. We need the world to step up at this critical time.”

The U.N. World Food Programme requires $590 million to assist 3.1 million crisis-affected people and IDPs on the move inside Ukraine with in-kind and cash distributions, as well as refugees and asylum seekers from Ukraine in neighboring countries for the next three months.

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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 and @WFP_JP

As the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine approaches 4 million, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) launch the Soccer for Ukraine Emergency Appeal.

GENEVA, LONDON, ROME – Six leading soccer players, three of whom are former refugees, are fronting a joint appeal with UNHCR and the U.N. World Food Programme to raise funds to help refugees who have fled their homes and displaced people inside Ukraine.

The global appeal #football4ukraine comes at a time when almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population – more than 10 million people – have been forced from their homes. Some 3.9 million refugees have been forced to flee the country, making this the fastest-growing refugee crisis since the Second World War. An additional 6.5 million people have been displaced within Ukraine’s borders, and at least 13 million are estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to heightened security risks, destruction of bridges and roads, as well as a lack of resources or information on where to find safety and accommodation.

The appeal includes players from across the Premier League, Bundesliga and Division 1 Féminine accompanied with music by the U.N. World Food Programme’s Goodwill Ambassador, the Weeknd. The three players with a refugee background are UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and FC Bayern Munich sensation Alphonso Davies, Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Dortmund) – the first Syrian refugee to play in the Bundesliga – and Everton FC goalkeeper Asmir Begovic who was forced to flee his home in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are joined by Manchester City right-back and FIFA Women’s Player of 2020 Lucy Bronze, Olympique Lyonnais’ Ada Hegerberg, the first woman recipient of the Ballon d’Or, and Manchester United’s Juan Mata, a World Cup winner with Spain.

The players, are calling on fans – wherever they are and whatever club they support – to stand together as one team and support people driven from their homes by the war in Ukraine by donating to the appeal.

Alphonso Davies said: “It’s very sad to see the millions of people displaced from around the world due to war. The need for support is growing by the day. This is why this appeal is important, to get urgent aid where it is needed, for everyone.”

“I’m heartbroken by this situation. Millions of people including many children have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine with no idea of what the future holds or when they will be able to return home. It’s even more shocking to think that this is on top of the more than 84 million people already displaced around the world. I hope our appeal for people displaced in Ukraine will deliver the support they need,” said Lucy Bronze.

The joint appeal brings together UNHCR’s expertise in protecting families forced to flee and the U.N. World Food Programme’s experience in saving lives in conflict zones. To ensure donations have the greatest impact for people affected by the emergency in Ukraine, they will be allocated to the two organizations to provide food, shelter, psychosocial support, financial assistance and other lifesaving aid.

UNHCR and the U.N. World Food Programme are on the ground inside and outside Ukraine working day-and-night to help those who need it most. In Ukraine, UNHCR is working to provide emergency, shelter and cash assistance and critical protection services for those who have fled their homes. UNHCR is also helping coordinate the refugee response across the region, providing critical humanitarian and protection assistance and supporting authorities to increase capacities to receive and host new arrivals.

The U.N. World Food Programme is building a massive operation to provide food for civilians trapped in major cities and assist others impacted by the conflict who have fled to neighboring countries. U.N. World Food Programme teams are also setting up operations and hubs in several locations in neighboring countries to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance into Ukraine.

“We are inspired by the response we’ve seen from football fans all over the world, who are showing their support for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Our message to everyone, is to remember that no one chooses to become a refugee. Refugees – from Ukraine and beyond – are placed in the most heart-breaking of circumstances, forced to flee for their lives. Each of us can do our bit and unite behind the campaign to extend our support,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

“There cannot be a harvest where it’s raining bombs,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley. “Millions of people in Ukraine are living their worst nightmare and, unless the war stops now, the breadbasket of Europe will be unable to feed itself. With each day of fighting, hunger is tightening its grip not only in Ukraine but also in countries far away from its borders that rely on Ukrainian wheat and grain to keep their poorest citizens alive. This war is a catastrophe for the world.”

In a year of unprecedented humanitarian needs, the crisis in Ukraine is a catastrophe compounding what is already a catastrophic year for the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. While UNHCR and the U.N. World Food Programme scale up to respond to the growing needs of the Ukraine crisis, they continue to deliver in other critical situations such as in Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and other humanitarian crises around the world, often far away from the spotlight.

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Notes for editors:

The multi-voice video is available on the following link
The soccer players are not available for interviews. For other enquiries about the players’ involvement, please contact UNHCR’s Colin Kampschoer in London, kampscho@unhcr.org or Stephanie Hazelwood, hazelwoo@unhcr.org

About UNHCR:  UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, protects people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We work in over 130 countries, protecting millions of people by responding with life-saving support, safeguarding fundamental human rights, and helping them build a better future.

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.

The War in Ukraine Is Triggering a Wave of Collateral Hunger Across the Globe as Food and Fuel Prices Surge

RZESZOW, Poland – As the emergency operation in Ukraine moved into high gear today, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) expressed deep concern about the waning ability of families in embattled areas to find food and also warned that the crisis could have consequences well beyond Ukraine’s borders.

“In a year when the world is already facing an unprecedented level of hunger, it’s just tragic to see hunger raising its head in what has long been the breadbasket of Europe,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley during a visit to a staging hub set up by the organization on the Polish-Ukrainian border. “The bullets and bombs in Ukraine could take the global hunger crisis to levels beyond anything we’ve seen before.”

With reports coming in of severe shortages of food and water in Kyiv, the capital, and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, U.N. World Food Programme teams are setting up operations and hubs in countries neighboring Ukraine. These will both facilitate delivery of food assistance into the country and assist refugees coming over the borders.

The immediate priority is to establish a food lifeline into Kyiv and other conflict hotspots. With consignments of food assistance arriving every day, the U.N. World Food Programme is in a race against time to pre-position food in areas where fighting is expected to flare. The U.N. World Food Programme is in the process of finding partners in Ukraine to help it distribute assistance and teams in neighbouring countries are identifying local vendors in order to purchase more stock.

Amid a shortage of cash in Ukraine, the U.N. World Food Programme plans to provide assistance through food distributions, cash and food vouchers that can be spent in selected shops. Food distributions will prioritize the big towns on the Ukraine side of the border where families are gathering as they wait to see how the conflict develops. The U.N. World Food Programme also plans to assist refugees who crossed the border to neighbouring countries.

The Russian Federation and Ukraine are responsible for 29% of the global wheat trade. Any serious disruption of production and exports from the region could push food prices beyond their current 10-year highs. This will erode food security for millions of people, especially those who are already under stress because of high levels of food inflation in their countries.

“This is not just a crisis inside Ukraine. This is going to affect supply chains, and particularly the cost of food,” Beasley warned. “Now we’re looking at a price hike that will cost us, in operational costs, anywhere from $60 and $75 million dollars more per month. And that means more people are going to go to bed hungry.”

At the start of 2022, the world is facing an unprecedented hunger challenge, as conflict and climate shocks compounded by COVID-19 and rising costs drive millions of people closer to starvation — threatening to increase migration and instability globally. With the numbers of hungry rising, the U.N. World Food Programme is calling for a step-change in global support for its operations.

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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

The conflict unfolding in Ukraine is heartbreaking to watch, and our hearts and prayers go out to all Ukrainians caught in this crisis. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is launching an emergency operation to provide food assistance for civilians fleeing the conflict and is currently calling for $570M for its portion of the emergency response.

The U.N. World Food Programme is scaling up to reach millions of people affected by the conflict using cash-based transfers as well as in-kind food distributions and is also preparing for an emergency operation to provide assistance to displaced Ukrainians in refugee hosting countries. In addition, the agency is leading the emergency telecommunications and logistics effort on behalf of the United Nations.

The U.N. World Food Programme has prior experience working in Ukraine. From November 2014 until April 2018, WFP’s operations assisted more than one million people through cash, food vouchers or locally purchased food rations, operating in both government- and non-government-controlled areas.

Conflict is the main driver of hunger and food insecurity in the world. We are deeply concerned about the potential impact on access to food for civilians in affected areas and on our operations globally.

We stand committed to the people of Ukraine and will do everything we can to help, but we can’t do it without the generous support of donors. World Food Program USA has set a fundraising goal of $5M to support emergency operations in Ukraine. Please donate now so we can rush emergency food to Ukrainians in their time of desperate need.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and 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.

World Food Program USA, a 501 (c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit wfpusa.org/mission-history.

Media Contact:
Toula Athas
Director, Communications
tathas@wfpusa.org
202-627-3940

ROME – We are deeply concerned about the evolving conflict in Ukraine and its potential impact on access to food for civilians in affected areas and on our operations globally. Our thoughts are with all those who have been caught up in this crisis and we echo the United Nations Secretary General’s call for an immediate ceasefire.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) team is on the ground, and we are ready to step up as needed provided that access is granted, and resources are available. We appeal to all parties to ensure that affected communities have continued access to any humanitarian support they may require and that the safety of humanitarian staff on the ground is guaranteed.

Conflict is a main driver of hunger and food insecurity in the world. We now have 283 million people marching towards starvation with 45 million knocking on famine’s door. The world cannot afford to let another conflict drive the numbers of hungry people even higher.

The Black Sea basin is one of the world’s most important areas for grain and agricultural production, and the food security impact of the conflict will likely be felt beyond Ukraine’s border, especially on the poorest of the poor. Interruption to the flow of grain out of the Black Sea region will increase prices and add further fuel to food inflation at a time when its affordability is a concern across the globe following the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.N. World Food Programme operated in eastern Ukraine from 2014 to 2018, reaching more than 1 million people through cash, food vouchers or locally purchased food rations, while operating in both government- and non-government-controlled areas. We remain committed to support all affected populations in Ukraine and in neighboring countries as required.

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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

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