Ukraine war leaves 323m people facing hunger

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Action Aid country director Joy Mabenge

BY LORRAINE MUROMO

THE World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that an estimated 323 million people in over 81 countries, including Zimbabwe, are now food insecure owing to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“WFP estimates the increase in acute hunger following the Ukraine conflict. The sub-Saharan Africa is most affected, both in absolute terms and relative to the baseline of already acute food insecurity,” the WFP said in a latest situational report.

Action Aid country director Joy Mabenge said the Russia-Ukraine war had disrupted food supply chains, sparking an increase in food prices.

“The war in Ukraine seriously disrupted the food supply chain.  African countries are major trading partners with Russia and Ukraine for supplies of wheat, edible oil and fertilizer.  We are gravely concerned by the increases in food prices that had already reached record highs when the Ukraine conflict began,” Mabenge said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe added: “Our cereals, wheat and maize are coming from there. Therefore, it goes without saying that we are affected hence the need to find ways to mitigate the situation.”

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) assistant director-general and regional representative for Africa Abebe Haile-Gabriel urged African countries to draw lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate the looming hunger crisis.

“We should learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to trigger urgent action at national level,” Haile-Gabriel said.

“That same agility and spirit of collaboration is needed now for the silent pandemic of poverty, hunger and undernourishment and extreme vulnerabilities to shocks in Africa.

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