First WFP humanitarian grain vessel leaves Ukraine for Africa
Rome, Aug 16 (EFE).- The first United Nations vessel of Ukrainian grain left the Yuzhny (Pivdennyi) port Tuesday as part of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) humanitarian drive to help people at risk of famine in the Horn of Africa.
The shipment of 23,000 metric tons of wheat grain will go to the drought-hit region in Africa where the disruption of Ukrainian grain exports, blockaded by Russia, have further endangered families already struggling with hunger.
“Getting the Black Sea Ports open is the single most important thing we can do right now to help the world’s hungry,” WFP Executive Director, David Beasley, said in a statement.
“It will take more than grain ships out of Ukraine to stop world hunger, but with Ukrainian grain back on global markets we have a chance to stop this global food crisis from spiraling even further,” he added.
A record 345 million people in 82 countries are facing acute food insecurity while up to 50 million people are on the edge of famine, according to the UN.
After heated negotiations, Ukraine and Russia signed a landmark UN-backed deal sponsored by Turkey on a safe corridor from Odesa to pave the way for the export of 20 million tons of grain that had been blocked in Ukraine since February when Russia launched its full-blown offensive.
The months-long trading blockade and the fact Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters has triggered a global food crisis that has affected Middle Eastern and African nations predominantly. EFE