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Fighting Food Insecurity in Ukraine 

Food Insecurity in UkraineSince Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the country has experienced several disastrous side effects that threaten the livelihoods of its people. The most pertinent issue at hand is the dangers to food security. With intense fighting on the frontlines and a myriad of reasons not to leave their homes, many people living on the front lines now struggle against food insecurity in Ukraine. In light of this, many institutions like the World Food Programme (WFP) have dedicated their efforts to fighting against food insecurity.

How Did Things Get Here?

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been a constant in world news since 2014 when Russia forcibly annexed Crimea from Ukraine and kickstarted the Donbas War. The 2022 full-scale invasion by Russia, however, proved to be the tipping point for several problems worldwide. Food insecurity especially is a growing problem in Ukraine and around the world.

Ukraine provides up to 30% of the world’s wheat and barley supply, an industry that has now been disrupted in the wake of Russia’s attack. Many people, both in Ukraine and around the world, have resultantly struggled with attaining food, either due to struggling supply chains in Ukraine or hikes in food prices in many countries.

The front lines of the conflict especially have been at risk of food insecurity in Ukraine. An estimated 40% of people in regions affected by the war struggle to get satisfactory amounts of food. Both the conflict and insufficient food supply are likely to increase poverty in the region.

To make matters more complicated, the recent collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam on June 6, 2023, has swathed critical farmland in flooding water. Detritus from the dam has also let contaminants taint the water, stifling the distribution of seafood and fish as another food source.

Because of the war and these compounding issues, the dangers of food insecurity in Ukraine have increased. There are, however, many efforts to combat this problem.

Fighting for Food Security and The WFP

The breakout of the conflict led to one of the biggest humanitarian efforts in the world, with many countries and institutions providing different forms of aid to Ukraine. In fighting food insecurity in Ukraine, Argentina helped deliver 1,500 tons of food to Ukraine alongside other necessities such as clothes and medicine.

Perhaps the biggest organization fighting against food insecurity in Ukraine, however, is WFP; an organization dedicated to fighting world hunger in any situation. The WFP works to provide support in food and cash to 3 million people in Ukraine each month. Its efforts include delivering rations to those in high-conflict zones as well as removing mines from farm plots to increase agriculture production.

Since the beginning of 2023, the WFP has delivered over 91,869 metric tons of food and over 4 million in rations to Ukraine. The recent collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam has seen a quick response by the WFP, with 148,000 rations delivered to those affected by the flood. The WFP plans further assistance to those in need through additional means of transporting food, including boats.

In addition, the WFP has teamed up with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to establish the Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) Cluster. The FSL Cluster helps to coordinate several other organizations in food security response within Ukraine, including U-Saved and the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief (SPIR). SPIR itself follows second to the WFP in terms of food distribution, bringing food to over 484,000 people near the front lines as of April of this year.

A Continuous Struggle

For now, the war continues, and food insecurity in Ukraine remains an issue. Through the efforts of groups like the WFP, however, many people within the country receive critical food assistance that saves them from hunger every day. Though the conflict may remain for the immediate future, the efforts of those fighting to keep people fed in Ukraine spell hope for those seeking a future without food insecurity.

– Kenneth Berends
Photo: Wikimedia Commons