First WFP Vessel Leaves Ukraine, Boosting Efforts to Get Food Supplies to People Threatened by Famine

Photo: WFP/Antoine Vallas/2022
Published August 17, 2022

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.

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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.

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