Widespread ‘famines, death and starvation’ as Ukrainian ports close: UN

The United Nations warned on Saturday that the closure of Ukrainian Black Sea ports could lead to mass migration, starvation and political instability.

With the supply chain disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a food shortage could affect around 400 million people worldwide who depend on the country’s grain production. The New York Times reported. The organization’s warning comes as a Russian military offensive is expected in eastern and southern Ukraine, threatening the seaports of Odessa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny and Mykolaiv.

David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, who recently visited Ukraine to look at ways to deliver food to about 1 million Ukrainians, said food allocation depends on access.

“This is where the international community needs to step in and make some very serious decisions to protect ports for humanitarian purposes and open ports to the whole world because the whole world will pay a price if we don’t get the ports open,” he said .

UN warns of widespread famine in Ukraine
The United Nations warned that the closure of Ukrainian Black Sea ports could lead to mass migration and starvation as it disrupts the supply chain used to ship large quantities of food from Ukraine to other parts of the world. Above, a local resident reacts as she describes the destruction in the village April 1 in Svitylnia, Ukraine.
Photo by Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images

The director also warned that global food shortages and soaring food prices would spell “disaster” for poorer nations.

“You will have hunger, death and hunger,” he told the Times. “You’re going to have destabilization of several nations and you’re going to have mass migration.”

In another interview with NPR published Thursday, Beasley said that “if people have food and some level of peace, people won’t leave their homes,” adding if people have those two things don’t have, then “they’ll find somewhere to feed their families.”

The UN World Food Program relies on wheat from Ukraine because it was the organization’s largest food supplier by volume last year, according to NPR.

A funding problem is another challenge the United Nations faces as it struggles to meet food needs. The organization’s operating expenses for its food program increased by $71 million per month, Beasley said Times.

“That means we’re feeding four to five million fewer people a year just because of the cost increase,” he said.

The effects of the war have already started to affect the world, and the UN announced it will reduce food supplies for north-west Syria starting next month due to limited funds and rising food prices, Al Jazeera reported.

The director also claimed he briefed the Kremlin on the United Nations’ concerns about Ukraine’s food insecurity, but the Kremlin has not acted on any of them, the authorities said Times. “We haven’t made any progress,” he said.

Food insecurity was a challenge well before the war, fueled by other external factors, but Beasley says the Russian invasion has exacerbated the problem.

“Before the war in Ukraine, we were already seeing increases in fuel costs, food costs, shipping costs. And just when you’re thinking it couldn’t get any worse, boom Afghanistan, and then boom Ukraine. So we’re already reducing tens of millions of people to half rations, like in Yemen, for example. Imagine telling your kid I can only give you half of what you need this month,” he told NPR.

news week has asked the United Nations World Food Program for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/widespread-famine-death-starvation-if-ukraine-ports-close-un-1698436 Widespread ‘famines, death and starvation’ as Ukrainian ports close: UN

Rick Schindler

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