Toronto, 24 February 2023 – One year ago, Russia launched a major military offensive into Ukraine. Each day, civilians suffer, and international humanitarian law (IHL) is breached. Action Against Hunger calls for a political resolution to the conflict to end human suffering. The war has also given rise to significant concerns about global food security. For Action Against Hunger, it reveals the inadequacy of our food systems and the need to reform them.
The military offensive in Ukraine has triggered a massive and rapid displacement of people. In total, nearly 30% of the Ukrainian population has been displaced by the conflict. More than 8 million Ukrainians have left the country as refugees and more than 6 million have been forced to flee their homes to seek refuge in another part of Ukraine. The humanitarian needs are tremendous. The United Nations estimates that 17.6 million people, including more than 3 million children, need humanitarian assistance.
“The war in Ukraine has brought one of the largest population displacements since World War II and a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs in the region,” explains Onome Ako, CEO of Action Against Hunger Canada. “Without a political solution to the conflict, humanitarian needs will continue to grow, especially in conflict-affected areas with large numbers of civilian casualties and damage to critical infrastructure. We urge all parties to protect humanitarian space, respect international humanitarian law and facilitate humanitarian operations on the ground.”
Action Against Hunger is responding to meet humanitarian needs in Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries of Poland, Romania, and Moldova. To date, the organization’s food security, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene projects have helped more than 650,000 people in four countries.
Both Russia and Ukraine have prominent roles in the global food trade, particularly when it comes to grain supplies, and the crisis has had far-reaching consequences for hunger around the world.
Last year, 828 million people suffered from hunger, a figure that has been increasing for several years. While the conflict in Ukraine did not cause hunger crises, it did to exacerbate the vulnerability of local, regional, and global food systems already threatened by conflict, climate change, chronic inequality, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The war in Ukraine shows us the fragility of our food systems. It now compels us to strengthen, in the short term, the existing famine prevention mechanisms, and in the long term, to transform our food systems,” says Onome Ako, CEO of Action Against Hunger Canada.
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