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First WFP vessel leaves Ukraine, boosting efforts to get food supplies to people threatened by famine

YUZHNY / ROME – The first maritime shipment of Ukrainian wheat grain for humanitarian operations run by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) left Ukraine’s Yuzhny (Pivdennyi) Port today, another important milestone in efforts to get much needed Ukrainian grain out of the conflict-hit country, back into global markets, and to countries worst affected by the global food crisis.

The shipment of 23,000 metric tons of wheat grain will go to WFP’s humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa where the threat of famine stalks the drought-hit region. It is one of many areas around the world where the near complete halt of Ukrainian grain and food on global market has made life even harder for families already struggling with rising hunger.

“Getting the Black Sea Ports open is the single most important thing we can do right now to help the world’s hungry,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “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.”

A record 345 million people in 82 countries are now facing acute food insecurity while up to 50 million people in 45 countries are right on the edge of famine and risk being tipped over without humanitarian support.

With commercial and humanitarian maritime traffic now resuming in and out of Ukraine’s Black Sea Port, some global supply disruptions will ease with relief for countries facing the worst of the global food crisis. Crucially, it will also allow Ukraine to empty its grain storage silos ahead of the summer season harvest.

Despite these positive developments, the world still faces an unprecedented food crisis. Immediate action is needed that brings together the humanitarian community, governments, and the private sector to save lives and invest in long term solutions. Failure will see people around the world slip into devastating famines with destabilizing impacts felt by us all.

This export of wheat is the product of strong collaboration between the private sector -- which is key in our response to the global food crisis -- and the government sector. WFP could not have arranged this shipment without critical emergency funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, as well

as significant contributions from the foundation of the long-time WFP supporter and former Goodwill Ambassador Howard G. Buffett and Minderoo Foundation, the Australian philanthropic organisation of Andrew and Nicola Forrest.

Video is available for use by news organisations. Please contact: Jonathan.Dumont@wfp.org

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

CONTACT

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Martin Penner, WFP/ Rome,
Mob. +39 345 614 2074

Annabel Symington, WFP/ Rome,
Mob. +44 7746397099

Tomson Phiri, WFP/ Geneva,
Mob. +41 79 842 8057

Nina Valente, WFP/ London,
Mob. +44 (0)796 8008 474

Martin Rentsch, WFP/Berlin,
Mob +49 160 99 26 17 30

Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington,
Mob. +1 202 770 5993