Los Angeles (November 28, 2022) — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the multi-platinum certified global star Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, a U.N. World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador, today announced that since launching their XO Humanitarian Fund in March 2022, $5 million has been raised and pledged to provide food and support to millions of people experiencing hunger across the globe. The Weeknd presented a check to World Food Program USA during a private event at his After Hours Til Dawn Stadium Tour concert in Los Angeles.

The Weeknd contributed $1 to the Fund from each ticket sold for his North American Stadium Tour, as well as proceeds of an exclusive XO Humanitarian Fund/U.N. World Food Programme tour t-shirt. The Weeknd’s corporate partners, tour venues and supporters also stepped up to donate. World Food Program USA’s Board of Directors, together with U.S. donors, contributed another $1 million.

Binance — the global blockchain ecosystem behind the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange and official sponsor of the After Hours Til Dawn Stadium Tour — contributed $2 million to the Fund.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Weeknd presents $5 million to World Food Program USA President and CEO Barron Segar.

Funds raised will support a variety of U.N. World Food Programme activities, with a first tranche of $2 million going to emergency food assistance and the nutritional support of malnourished children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers in northern Ethiopia, reaching more than 75,000 people across the country’s most food-insecure regions.

“We are deeply appreciative and humbled by The Weeknd’s steadfast support, as well as that of his loyal fans and partners,” said Barron Segar, World Food Program USA president and CEO. “Abel is an inspiration to us all, and through his efforts, thousands of families will have food security and hope for a better future.”

“On stage and off stage, The Weeknd is bringing hope and happiness to millions of people across the globe,” said David Beasley, U.N. World Food Programme executive director. “His inspirational XO Humanitarian Fund is a new dawn in the struggle to end global hunger at a time when we are seeing funding shrink and the threat of famine grow. As WFP’s Global Goodwill Ambassador, he is opening hearts and minds to our lifesaving cause and offering millions the chance of a brighter tomorrow.”

Today, a record 349 million people across 79 countries are facing acute food insecurity, with 49 million on the edge of famine in 49 countries. This is fueled by the devastating impact that global conflicts, climate shocks, rising costs and the COVID-19 pandemic have had on vulnerable communities around the world.

The U.N. World Food Programme, which aims to reach 160 million people this year, is focused on providing emergency food, cash assistance and nutrition programs to prevent millions from starving. The organization is also working to stabilize national food systems, supply chains and local markets so the situation doesn’t deteriorate.

Learn more about The Weeknd’s work with the U.N. World Food Programme at wfpusa.org/TheWeeknd.

As The Weeknd officially launches the 2023 leg of his tour, he will contribute €1 from each ticket sold across Europe, £1 in the UK, and the US$1 equivalent in countries across Latin America to the XO Humanitarian Fund.

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About the United Nations World Food Programme 
The U.N. 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.

About World Food Program USA 
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. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit  wfpusa.org/mission-history.

Media Contact:
Abigail Seiler
World Food Program USA
aseiler@wfpusa.org 

Amid an unprecedented global hunger crisis, nonprofit challenges Americans to spend $8 to save a life, not on a verified checkmark 

Washington, DC (November 11, 2022) — Today, World Food Program USA launches Verified Humanitarian, a social media campaign aimed at activating Americans to join the global movement to end hunger. While Americans debate whether it’s worth spending $8 for a “verified checkmark” on a leading social platform, World Food Program USA challenges them to make a better investment. Would you rather spend $8 to be a Verified Human or to be a Verified Humanitarian?

The world faces an unprecedented global hunger crisis, with 345 million people facing severe hunger and 50 million on the brink of famine. Why spend $8 on a social checkmark when you can spend $8 to provide 16 lifesaving meals to someone in need? By becoming a Verified Humanitarian, donors provide more than a meal – they provide hope for a better future.

“Watching the news and following social media lately, I’m amazed at the energy and attention Americans are giving to the ‘pay for it’ issue,” said Barron Segar, president and CEO at World Food Program USA. “There’s so much suffering and need in the world today—why spend $8 on a verified checkmark, when you can spend $8 to feed someone in need. I urge Americans to spend their hard-earned dollars to make a difference in someone’s life.”

No amount is too small to support a person who needs a meal. To become a Verified Humanitarian, click here.

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About the United Nations World Food Programme 
The U.N. 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.

About World Food Program USA 
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. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit  wfpusa.org/mission-history.

Media Contact: 
Toula Athas
World Food Program USA
tathas@wfpusa.org 

Washington, DC (October 26, 2022) – World Food Program USA today named Jon Banner, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer at McDonald’s Corporation, to our Board of Directors. Banner joins World Food Program USA’s Board during a period of dynamic organizational growth as we work to mobilize support for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)’s operations to combat the unprecedented global hunger crisis. An innovative and accomplished business leader, Banner will work with us to grow private sector engagement as well as advance our brand and advocacy initiatives.

“We are proud to welcome Jon to our Board and look forward to working with him. He is an exceptional, visionary leader who will help us take this organization to the next level as we advance the U.N. World Food Programme’s mission,” said Randy Russell, World Food Program USA Board Chair. “We must do all we can to support the 345 million people facing severe hunger amid rising climate shocks, conflict, inflation and the pandemic fallout.”

Under Banner’s leadership, McDonald’s Global Impact function – which integrates Sustainability & ESG, Public Policy & Government Relations, Communications and International Corporate Relations teams, as well as Ronald McDonald House Charities® – is working to deliver on its purpose of feeding and fostering communities. With nearly 40,000 locations in over 100 countries, McDonald’s drives action across four impact areas: food quality and sourcing; our planet; community connection; and jobs inclusion and empowerment.

“World Food Program USA is an incredible organization dedicated to caring for our most vulnerable populations, including those feeling the immense effects of climate change on their food supply –  and ultimately their livelihoods,” said Banner. “I’m honored to join as a board member and support their critical efforts to tackle the global hunger crisis. I look forward to bringing the insights I’ve gained across my career, leading teams as they advanced efforts to transform food systems to be more resilient for the future.”

Previously, Banner spent a decade at PepsiCo, responsible for the Communications function and the PepsiCo Foundation, and worked closely with the company’s Sustainability and Government Affairs teams. He co-created the company’s sustainability vision, PepsiCo Positive (pep+), an end-to-end transformation of how the company creates growth and shared value with sustainability and human capital at the center. He also reimagined the Foundation’s global strategy towards advancing a more sustainable food system through new partnerships and investments to alleviate hunger, provide access to safe water, and drive economic empowerment.

Prior to PepsiCo, Banner spent the majority of his career at Disney/ABC, traveling the world as the Executive Producer on some of the most influential news programs including “World News Tonight” and “This Week”, winning numerous Emmy Awards for groundbreaking coverage.

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About the United Nations World Food Programme/World Food Program USA 
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. Learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission.

Media Contact:  
Toula Athas
Director, Communications
World Food Program USA
tathas@wfpusa.org 

ROME – The world is at risk of yet another year of record hunger as the global food crisis continues to drive yet more people into worsening levels of severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in a call for urgent action to address the root causes of today’s crisis ahead of World Food Day on October 16.

The global food crisis is a confluence of competing crises – caused by climate shocks, conflict and economic pressures – that has pushed the number of severely hungry people around the world from 282 million to 345 million in just the first months of 2022. The U.N. World Food Programme scaled up food assistance targets to reach a record 153 million people in 2022, and by mid-year had already delivered assistance to 111.2 million people.

“We are facing an unprecedented global food crisis and all signs suggest we have not yet seen the worst. For the last three years hunger numbers have repeatedly hit new peaks. Let me be clear: things can and will get worse unless there is a large scale and coordinated effort to address the root causes of this crisis. We cannot have another year of record hunger,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley.

The U.N. World Food Programme and humanitarian partners are holding back famine in five countries: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Too often, it is conflict that drives the most vulnerable into catastrophic hunger with communications disrupted, humanitarian access restricted and communities displaced. The conflict in Ukraine has also disrupted global trade – pushing up transport costs and lead times while leaving farmers without access to the agricultural inputs they need. The knock-on effect on upcoming harvests will reverberate around the world.

Climate shocks are increasing in frequency and intensity, leaving those affected no time to recover between disasters. An unprecedented drought in the Horn of Africa is pushing more people into alarming levels of food insecurity, with famine now projected in Somalia. Floods have devastated homes and farmland in several countries, most strikingly in Pakistan.  Anticipatory action must be at the core of the humanitarian response to protect the most vulnerable from these shocks – and a core part of the agenda at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) next month in Egypt.

Meanwhile, governments’ ability to respond is constrained by their own economic woes – currency depreciation, inflation, debt distress – as the threat of global recession also mounts. This will see an increasing number of people unable to afford food and needing humanitarian support to meet their basic needs.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s operational plan for 2022 is the agency’s most ambitious ever. It prioritizes action to prevent millions of people from dying of hunger while working to stabilize – and where possible build – resilient national food systems and supply chains.

So far this year, the U.N. World Food Programme has increased assistance six-fold in Sri Lanka in response to the economic crisis, launched an emergency flood response in Pakistan and expanded operations to records levels in Somalia as famine looms. In Afghanistan, two out of every five Afghans have been supported by U.N. World Food Programme assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme also launched an emergency operation in Ukraine and opened a new office Moldova to support families fleeing the conflict.

With the cost of delivering assistance rising and lead times increasing, the U.N. World Food Programme continues to diversify its supplier base, including boosting local and regional procurement: So far in 2022, 47% of the food the U.N. World Food Programme has purchased is from countries where it operates – a value of $1.2 billion. The U.N. World Food Programme has also expanded the use of cash-based transfers to deliver food assistance in the most efficient and cost-effective way in the face of these rising costs. Cash transfers now represent 35% of the agency’s emergency food assistance.

The U.N. World Food Programme has secured $655 million in contributions and service provision agreements from international financial institutions to support national social protection systems. Similar efforts are underway to expand innovative climate financing partnerships. The U.N. World Food Programme continues to support governments with supply chain services, such as the procurement and transport of food commodities to replenish national grain reserves to support national safety net programs.

While these efforts provide succor to some of the severely vulnerable, it is against a challenging global backdrop in which the number of acutely hungry people continues to increase requiring a concerted global action for peace, economic stability and continued humanitarian support to ensure food security around the world.

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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

Rising conflict, climate extremes, and economic instability aggravated by the lingering impacts of COVID-19 and the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine are among the key drivers

ROME – The number of people facing severe hunger worldwide is expected to continue to rise steeply as the food crisis tightens its grip on 19 ‘hunger hotspots.’ This sharp rise in hunger is driven by rising conflict, weather extremes, and economic instability aggravated by the pandemic and the ripple effects of the crisis in Ukraine, a joint UN report has found.

The ‘Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity’ report – issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) calls for urgent humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods and prevent famine in hotspot countries where acute food insecurity is expected to worsen from October 2022 to January 2023. The report lays out country-specific recommendations on priorities for anticipatory action – short-term protective measures to be put in place before new humanitarian needs materialize – and emergency response – actions to address existing humanitarian needs.

“The severe drought in the Horn of Africa has pushed people to the brink of starvation, destroying crops and killing livestock on which their survival depends. Acute food insecurity is rising fast and spreading across the world. People in the poorest countries in particular who have yet to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are suffering from the ripple effects of ongoing conflicts, in terms of prices, food and fertilizer supplies, as well as the climate emergency. Without a massively scaled up humanitarian response that has at its core time-sensitive and lifesaving agricultural assistance, the situation will likely worsen in many countries in the coming months,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.

“This is the third time in 10 years that Somalia has been threatened with a devastating famine. The famine in 2011 was caused by two consecutive failed rainy seasons as well as conflict. Today we’re staring at a perfect storm: a likely fifth consecutive failed rainy season that will see drought lasting well into 2023. But the people at the sharp end of today’s crisis are also facing soaring food prices and severely limited opportunities to earn a living following the pandemic. We urgently need to get help to those in grave danger of starvation in Somalia and the world’s other hunger hotspots,” said the U.N. World Food Programme’s Executive Director David Beasley.

The report spotlights the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, where the longest drought in over 40 years is forecast to continue – with the fifth failed rainy season in a row on the horizon – adding to the cumulative, devastating effects that successive rainfall deficits, economic crises and conflict have had on vulnerable households since 2020. Water scarcity has led to below average harvests, livestock deaths and forced hundreds of thousands of people off their land in search of sustenance, while increasing the risk of intercommunal and resource-based conflict.

Up to 26 million people are expected to face Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 and above) levels of food insecurity in Somalia, southern and eastern Ethiopia, and northern and eastern Kenya. With humanitarian assistance at risk of being cut due to funding shortfalls, the possibility of large-scale deaths from hunger looms large in Somalia with famine likely to take hold in the districts of Baidoa and Burhakaba in Bay Region come October. Without an adequate humanitarian response, analysts expect that by December, as many as four children or two adults per 10,000 people will die every day. Hundreds of thousands are already facing starvation today with staggering levels of malnutrition expected among children under the age of 5.

Globally, an all-time high of 970,000 people are expected to face catastrophic hunger (IPC Phase 5) and are starving or projected to starve or at risk of deterioration to catastrophic conditions in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen if no action is taken – ten times more than six years ago when only two countries had populations in Phase 5.

Key Findings

According to the report, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen remain at the ‘highest alert’ as hotspots. The six countries account for almost 1 million people facing catastrophic levels of hunger (IPC Phase 5 ‘Catastrophe’) with starvation and death a daily reality and where extreme levels of mortality and malnutrition may unfold without immediate action.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Kenya, the Sahel, the Sudan and Syria remain ‘of very high concern’ with deteriorating conditions – as in the June edition of the quarterly report – but the alert is extended to the Central African Republic and Pakistan. Meanwhile, Guatemala, Honduras and Malawi have been added to the list of countries, joining Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Madagascar that remain hunger hotspots.

Violent conflict remains the primary driver of acute hunger with analysis indicating a continuation of this trend in 2022 with particular concern for Ethiopia, where an intensification of conflict and interethnic violence in several regions is expected to further escalate, driving up humanitarian needs.

Weather extremes such as floods, tropical storms and droughts remain critical drivers in many parts of the globe. A “new normal” of consecutive and extreme weather events is becoming clear – particularly in the hotspots. Devastating floods have affected 33 million people in Pakistan alone this year, and South Sudan faces a fourth consecutive year of extreme flooding. Meanwhile, a third consecutive season of below-average rainfall is projected in Syria. For the first time in 20 years, the La Niña climate event has continued through three consecutive years – affecting agriculture and causing crop and livestock losses in many parts of the world including Afghanistan, west and east Africa and Syria.

On the economic front, the persistently high global prices of food, fuel and fertilizer continue to drive high domestic prices and economic instability. Rising inflation rates have forced governments to enact monetary-tightening measures in advanced economies which have also increased the cost of credit of low-income countries. This is constraining the ability of heavily indebted countries – the number of countries increased significantly in recent years – to finance the import of essential items.

In the face of these macroeconomic challenges, many governments are compelled to introduce austerity measures affecting incomes and purchasing power – particularly among the most vulnerable families. These trends are expected to increase in coming months, the report notes, with poverty and acute food insecurity rising further as well as risks of civil unrest driven by increasing socio-economic grievances.

Humanitarian assistance is crucial to save lives and prevent starvation, death and the total collapse of livelihoods the report notes, highlighting that insecurity, administrative and bureaucratic impediments, movement restrictions and physical barriers severely limit humanitarian responders’ access to people facing acute hunger in 11 of the hotspot countries – including all six of the countries where populations are facing or are projected to face starvation (IPC Phase 5) or are at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions.

Humanitarian Action Is Critical to Preventing Starvation and Death

The report calls for targeted humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods in the 19 hunger hotspots noting that in humanitarian action in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen will be critical in preventing further starvation and death.

Note to Editors

Photos from Hotspot Countries available here.

Identified through forward-looking analysis, the ‘hunger hotspots’ are areas showing the potential for acute food insecurity to increase during the outlook period. The hotspots are selected through a consensus-based process involving WFP and FAO field and technical teams, alongside analysts specialized in conflict, economic risks, and natural hazards. 

The report is part of a series of analytical products produced under the Global Network Against Food Crises, to enhance and coordinate the generation and sharing of evidence-based information and analysis for preventing and addressing food crises. 

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It aims at transforming agrifood systems, making them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no-one behind. FAO’s goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) 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, @FAOnews and @wfp_media

Funds to provide critical food and emergency support to 1.6 million people across nine nations  

ROME (September 14, 2022) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today announced a historic $32 million donation to World Food Program USA in support of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)’s lifesaving operations to combat the global food crisis. During a visit to WFP’s headquarters in Rome, Bishop L. Todd Budge of the Presiding Bishopric presented the grant to Barron Segar, President and CEO of World Food Program USA, and Ute Klamert, WFP Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships and Advocacy.

“We are so grateful to collaborate with the World Food Programme because we know they will get food to those who need it most,” Bishop Budge said. “And we thank Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith whose financial sacrifices have made this gift possible. Such giving makes God’s children a little happier and all of us a little holier.”

WFP will use the Church’s funds to provide food and other critical assistance to 1.6 million of the most vulnerable people in nine countries: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

“This extraordinary donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could not come at a more critical time,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “With millions of people starving today, WFP is working hard to deliver food, help and hope – and this lifesaving contribution allows us to do just that.”

As a global food crisis of unprecedented proportions forces millions more into hunger, WFP’s work alongside governments and partners is a critical lifeline for many. In Somalia, for example, WFP is scaling up humanitarian assistance to record levels in order to avert projected famine. In Yemen, WFP’s food assistance has reached more than half of the country’s population and kept hunger at bay in recent years. Meanwhile, millions of families rely on the organization’s food, nutrition and livelihood support in Afghanistan.

“At this time of unprecedented global need, we are grateful for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s transformational gift,” said World Food Program USA President and CEO Barron Segar. “Private sector support is critical to our mission, enabling WFP to scale food assistance and resilience work that brings families stability and comfort during these challenging times. I am confident that the Church’s gift will inspire others to join our movement to end global hunger.”

“We accept this generous donation with gratitude and firm confidence in our ability to use it to deliver for the most vulnerable,” said Ute Klamert, WFP Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships and Advocacy. “Reaching them in their time of need, helping lift them out of harm’s way, so they can survive and build resilience.”

Today, a record 345 million people face acute food insecurity with 50 million on the brink of famine around the world. Some 60 million children are at risk of being acutely malnourished by the end of 2022 unless immediate action is taken. The worldwide ripple effect of the war in Ukraine, compounded by widespread conflict, extreme climate and the socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, is pushing already vulnerable people into utter desperation.

“My heart rejoices for the millions of malnourished children who will benefit from this donation,” added Sister Camille N. Johnson, global leader of the faith’s Relief Society, an organization for women. “Jesus has a tender heart for children. He weeps to see them starve. And He rejoices at even the smallest effort to help them. A huge thanks to the World Food Programme and to all who contribute in any way to this cause.”

The Church of Jesus Christ’s collaboration with WFP began in 2014. Recently, the two organizations worked together to fill hunger gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo and video material is available here.

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.

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.

Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ 

Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relieves suffering, fosters self-reliance and provides opportunities for service. It follows the admonition of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and afflicted.

The Church’s humanitarian outreach is made possible by the generous donations and volunteerism of Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith. More than 1 million workdays of labor are contributed each year by volunteers in support of welfare initiatives.

The Church sponsors relief and development projects in 195 countries and territories and gives assistance without regard to race, religious affiliation or nationality. Aid is based on the core principles of personal responsibility, community support, self-reliance and sustainability.

 

Media Contacts:

Toula Athas, World Food Program USA, tathas@wfpusa.org, 202-627-3940

Steve Taravella, United Nations World Food Programme, steve.taravella@wfp.org, Mob.  +1 202 770 5993

Doug Andersen, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  douglas.andersen@ChurchofJesusChrist.org, 801-828-0960

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.

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