UNITED NATIONS: UN chief Antonio Guterres warned on Monday (Mar 14) that the world must act to prevent a “hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The secretary-general told reporters in New York that the war risks sparking far-reaching consequences for the global food supply that will have a devastating impact on the poorest.
“This war goes far beyond Ukraine. It is also an assault on the world’s most vulnerable people and countries,” Guterres said.
Even before the war, he said, developing countries were “struggling to recover from the pandemic – with record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens”.
“Now their breadbasket is being bombed,” Guterres said, noting that Ukraine provides more than half of the World Food Programme’s wheat supply.
He warned that the UN’s global food prices index is at its highest level ever and that the world’s 45 least developed countries import at least one-third of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia.
They include Burkina Faso, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
“We must do everything possible to avert a hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system,” Guterres implored, calling for an immediate end to hostilities.