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The Ukraine tragedy's impact on global food aid: A commentary by Barron Segar

March 27, 2022

Ukraine_flag_wheat_field_GettyImages-Anna KoberskaThe ‘year of catastrophic hunger’ just got more catastrophic

Just a few short months ago, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the world was facing “a year of catastrophic hunger” in 2022. These were alarming words from an organization that deals in tragedy and devastation on a daily basis, quietly feeding millions of people experiencing the worst trauma of their lives, often as a result of devastating natural or man-made disasters.

Four tropical storms had hit Madagascar, a country already suffering from extreme hunger; over half of the population in Afghanistan was severely food insecure, with almost nine million people facing the looming prospect of famine; the Horn of Africa was facing its worst drought since 1981; Yemen was in its eighth year of sustained conflict and Syria in its eleventh; Northern Ethiopia remained locked in war, with food and fuel supplies cut off from those who needed it most.

And then Russia invaded Ukraine.

Since the war broke out in late February, more than two million people have fled the country and hundreds of thousands within Ukraine are suddenly unable to meet their basic needs. WFP executive director David Beasley warned of this new war that “[t]he world cannot afford to let another conflict drive the numbers of hungry people even higher.”

He’s right. The conflict in Ukraine puts enormous strain on a global humanitarian system already buckling under the pressure of 44 million people across 38 countries facing famine—numbers we haven’t seen since the Second World War, if ever. The Ukraine tragedy risks diverting attention and dollars from those suffering millions, but it will also impact the world’s most fragile places in less obvious ways—mainly because of its impact on global food prices....

Read the full commentary by Barron Segar, president and CEO of World Food Program USA.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Anna Koberska)

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

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