Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat. Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Programme’s wheat supply. The war in Ukraine is triggering a “meltdown of the global economy” – which is provoking a hunger crisis that is hitting the poorest the hardest, warned UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a recent statement.
As a direct response to the war, the Secretary-General announced the establishment of a new UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, to be overseen by Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed.
Ukraine: ‘We need peace now’ declares Guterres, warning of global hunger meltdown
Ukraine is being “decimated before the eyes of the world” with Russia’s military offensive against civilians “reaching terrifying proportions”, said the UN chief on Monday, warning that a resulting meltdown of the global economy is provoking a hunger crisis that is hitting the poorest, hardest.
Secretary-General António Guterres addressed correspondents outside the Security Council chamber in New York, and said that with each passing hour in Ukraine, the death and destruction is getting worse: “Whatever the outcome, this war will have no winners, only losers.”
Roads, airports, schools, lie in ruins, due to Russia’s invasion, with at least 24 health facilities suffering attacks, while hundreds of thousands are now without water or electricity.
Mr. Guterres said the UN and humanitarian partners were working “to ensure safe passage from besieged areas, and to provide aid where security permits, allowing around 600,000 to receive some form of aid since the bombardment began.
He announced the release of a further $40 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to ramp up vital assistance, but noted that “the avenues in and out of encircled cities, are more precarious by the day.”
The nearly two million now displaced inside the country, and close to three million who have become refugees in the past two weeks – the vast majority women and children – are becoming increasingly vulnerable, he warned.
“For predators and human traffickers, war is not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity. And women and children are the targets. They need safety and support every step of the way. I will continue to highlight the desperate plight of the people of Ukraine as I am doing again today.”
Assault on the world’s most vulnerable
Besides the hour-to-hour devastation inside Ukraine, the UN chief said the war was reaching far beyond its borders, with a Sword of Damocles now hanging over the global economy – “especially the developing world”.
For months now, developing countries have been struggling to recover from the pandemic – with record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens, while their ability to respond has been “erased by exponential increases in the cost of financing.
“Now their breadbasket is being bombed”, he said.
Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat, he added, noting that Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) wheat supply.
“Food, fuel and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing. Supply chains are being disrupted. And the costs and delays of transportation of imported goods – when available – are at record levels.
“All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe.”
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