Russia’s halt to Ukrainian grain exports will hit hardest those already facing extreme hunger, warns IRC



The International Rescue Committee (IRC) warns of the catastrophic consequences of Russia’s suspension of its participation in the UN-brokered grain deal. As the war in Ukraine altered global patterns of food production and supply, inflation in low-income countries soared to nearly 90%, with an estimated 345 million people facing acute food insecurity this year. Critically, as tens of millions of people continue to suffer from extreme hunger in East Africa and Somalia is on the brink of famine following the worst drought in 40 years, the new blockade will continue hinder the importation of 80% of imported cereals. of the Russian-Ukrainian region, thus aggravating hunger.

Shashwat Saraf, IRC’s emergency director for East Africa, said:

“The renewed blockade raises serious concerns about the growing global hunger crisis, particularly in East Africa where more than 20 million people are hungry or in places like Yemen which depends on Russia and of Ukraine for almost half of its wheat imports and where more than 19 million people need food aid. The UN-brokered deal brought a glimmer of hope – now that hope is shattered again – the recent suspension of grain exports will hit those on the brink of starvation the hardest. Like Yemen, the East African region depends on Russia and Ukraine for much of its wheat imports and as Somalia teeters on the brink of catastrophic famine, further disruption of Critical grain exports could push Somalia over the edge by affecting grain accessibility and availability. within the region. »

According to official reports, since the lifting of the blockade on August 1, 8.5 million tonnes of essential foodstuffs have been shipped from ports to countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, releasing almost half of the wheat previously held in Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Amid the recent escalation of violence in Ukraine, the IRC calls on the international community to ensure that regular and predictable deliveries of food urgently reach those who need it most, including those at the brink of famine in regions such as East Africa and Yemen.

The renewed expeditions will again bring a fraction of the ease to the world’s most vulnerable, but a joint global response and focused attention and resources to areas most at risk of famine and hunger, including those in East Africa. ‘Is, are critically and urgently needed. With a failed fifth rainy season on the horizon in East Africa, it is imperative that the most needy families can access nutritious food.

The IRC launched an emergency response to the crisis in Ukraine in February 2022 and is working directly and with local partners to reach those most in need. We are in Ukraine, Poland and Moldova, stepping up our winter response, delivering emergency kits and medical items, and providing vital services such as cash assistance, mental health support and safe spaces for women and children. In East Africa, the IRC is implementing a drought response plan, supporting more than one million people with essential nutrition, health, water and sanitation and aid services. cash.

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