Russia’s war against Ukraine is threatening the global food supply and putting some of the world’s poorest countries at risk, the United Nations chief and the executive director of the World Food Program warned on Monday.
More than 40 African and least-developed countries import at least one-third of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia, and 18 of them import at least 50%, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters. These countries include Egypt, Congo, Burkina Faso, Leban, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, he said.
“All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe,” the secretary-general warned.
David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, told The Associated Press during a visit to the Ukrainian city of Lviv that 50% of the grain the program buys to feed “the 125 million people we reach on any given day, week or month” comes from Ukraine, as does 20% of the world’s supply of corn.
“So (the war) is going to have a dynamic global catastrophic impact,” Beasley said.
Guterres announced an additional $40 million from the U.N.’s emergency fund to get critical supplies of food, water and medicine into Ukraine, where at least 1.9 million people are displaced.