T.he The United States plans to buy about 150,000 tons of grain from Ukraine in the coming weeks and food aid from ports that have been unblocked by the war, the head of the World Food Program told the Associated Press.
David Beasley said the grain’s final destination has not been confirmed and discussions are ongoing. But the planned shipment, one of several transports pursued by the United Nations agency to fight hunger, is the first ship from Ukraine arranged by WFP to leave the Horn of Africa, which is at risk of starvation. That’s more than six times the amount of grain we currently ship to people.
Beasley spoke Friday from northern Kenya where drought is depleting the Horn of Africa region. He sat under a thorn tree among local women, who told the Associated Press that the last time it rained was in 2019.
Their completely arid communities could face yet another unsuccessful rainy season in the coming weeks, plunging parts of the region into famine, especially neighboring Somalia. Thousands of people have already died. According to the World Food Program, 22 million people are hungry.
Beasley said, “I think it’s very likely that a famine will be declared” in the coming weeks.
He called the situation facing the Horn of Africa “perfect storm upon perfect storm, tsunami upon tsunami”.
The long-awaited first aid ship from Ukraine is carrying 23,000 tons of grain, enough to keep 1.5 million people full for a month. Wheat will be docked in Djibouti on 26 or 27 August and the wheat will be transported overland to northern Ethiopia. In northern Ethiopia, millions of people in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions are facing not only drought but deadly conflict.
Ukraine was the source of half of the grain WFP purchased last year to feed 130 million starving people. Russia and Ukraine signed a deal last month between the United Nations and Ankara that will allow Ukrainian grain exports for the first time since Russia’s invasion in February.
But the slow reopening of Ukrainian ports and the cautious movement of mined cargo ships across the Black Sea will not solve the global food security crisis, Beasley said. He warned and named that richer countries must do more to keep grain and other aid flowing to the world’s most hungry regions.
“Now that oil profits are so high, record-breaking profits, billions of dollars every week, the Gulf countries need to help and they need to do it now,” Beasley said. said. “It would be a shame not to, especially since they are neighbors, their brothers, and their family.”
He argued that the World Food Program could save “millions of lives” with just one day of Gulf oil profits.
Beasley said China needs to help as well.
“China is the second largest economy in the world, and we are under unreasonable demands from China,” or very little, he added.
Despite hopes that grain will leave Ukraine and the rise in global markets will begin to stabilize, the world’s most vulnerable people face a long and difficult recovery.
“Even when this drought is over, we’ll be talking about a global food crisis for at least another 12 months,” Beasley said. “But for the poorest, it will take years to get out of this situation.”
Some of the world’s poorest people without enough food live in northern Kenya, where animal carcasses are slowly stripped to the bone under intolerant skies. Millions of livestock, the source of wealth and nourishment for families, died in drought. Many water pumps went dry. More and more children are malnourished.
“Don’t forget us,” resident Hasan Mohamud told Beasley.
There are so many people in need that the actual aid that arrives can disappear in the sand like raindrops. Local women who qualified for the UN WFP cash distribution said they received 6,500 shillings (about $54) and shared it with their neighbors (10 households in one case).
“The most interesting thing we hear is people saying, ‘We’re not alone,'” WFP program officer Felix Oketch told AP. “‘We were chosen[for the handout]but there are more people like us.’ So it’s very humbling to hear that.”
In a small crowd gathered to listen to children who were too weak to stand and whose milk had dried up, a woman at the edge of a woven plastic mat cried out. . Sahara Abdire, 50, said she earns perhaps 1,000 shillings ($8.30) a week by collecting her firewood, and she cleans the increasingly scarce landscape each day. Like Beasley, she was thinking globally.
“Is there any country poorer than us, like Afghanistan or Ukraine?” she asked. Carla Anna, Bra Hugger, MDT/AP