The director of the World Food Program speaks of a possible famine and urges other nations to help.
As grain-laden ships begin to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports after several months of blockade, the United States has purchased 150,000 metric tons of grain to help alleviate some of the famine plaguing parts of Ukraine. ‘Africa.
The World Food Program announced the purchase on Friday as the Horn of Africa continues to experience a life-threatening drought. WFP director David Beasely was in northern Kenya, where, according to an Associated Press report, it hasn’t rained since 2019.
Beasely said other countries should step in to help alleviate food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, saying he expects an announcement of famine conditions there soon.
The World Food Program says 22 million people are hungry, according to AP.
The dry conditions in the region predate hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, where the war interrupted the flow of wheat, corn, sunflower products and fertilizers, and drove up the price of fuel, making the agriculture and the transport of more expensive agricultural products.
Russia and Ukraine have been major suppliers of these products to many parts of the world. The February 24 invasion included a blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports and commercial maritime traffic had been hampered by Ukrainian exploitation of the waters.
But a United Nations-brokered agreement between Russia and Ukraine in late July allowed ships to start transporting grain across the Black Sea, first to fulfill various permanent contracts, but also to ship grain to the hotspots of the world. The first humanitarian delivery of grain, the Bulk Commander, set sail last week, carrying 23,000 metric tons. It is heading to Djibouti to be redistributed among several countries in the Horn, particularly Ethiopia, where a civil war has exacerbated already dire conditions. The shipment is estimated to be enough to feed 1.5 million people with full rations for a month.
The just-announced US purchase would be more than six and a half times that amount.
But much more is needed, and Beasley called on the Gulf states, which are now enjoying huge profits thanks to the recent oil price spike, and China to help.
“With oil profits being so high right now — record profits, billions of dollars every week — … the Gulf states need to help, need to step up and do it now,” Beasley told AP. “It is inexcusable not to do so. Especially since they are their neighbors, they are their brothers, their family.
As for China, he said that although the PRC is the world’s second largest economy, “we are becoming ridiculously squatted” in Beijing.
However, they – and other nations – have plenty of time to catch up. Beasley said that even if the drought ends, “we are talking about a global food crisis for at least another 12 months.
“But when it comes to the poorest of the poor,” he added, “it will take many years to get out.”