The conflict in Ukraine will worsen hunger in the world’s worst crisis areas, warns IRC

  • East Africa depends on Russia and Ukraine to supply 90% of imported wheat, while Yemen depends on the region for more than a fifth of its supplies.
  • 4 million Somalis are expected to face emergency levels of hunger by June this year with the humanitarian response plan funded at a meager 3.8%.
  • Syria has received less than half (46.5%) of the funds needed in the last year, despite eleven years of conflict and Yemen is expected to receive less than 30% of the funds needed this year after 7 years of conflict
  • Afghanistan, Yemen and the Sahel, all facing acute food insecurity, will be badly hit by global grain cuts and rising prices
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) index, which measures global food prices, is at its highest level ever in the war in Ukraine

Food security in countries already facing severe levels of hunger will deteriorate dramatically as the war in Ukraine reduces global grain supplies and drives up fuel prices. As the world’s attention focuses on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the IRC calls on world leaders to renew their commitment to support those affected by crises around the world.

Humanitarian needs in countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia could increase as global grain exports are disrupted, food and fuel prices rise and critical attention is diverted to Ukraine. East African countries, including Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, which are already facing the worst drought in decades, import more than 90% of their imported wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Yemen, which remains chronically underfunded, depends on Ukraine and Russia for just over a fifth of its wheat consumption, painting a bleak picture of what families in this region could suffer if the situation is not resolved. As Ukraine’s agricultural production cycle this year is disrupted due to the conflict, countries heavily dependent on grain imports from Ukraine are likely to be affected in the coming year.

Bob Kitchen, Vice President of Emergencies at IRC, said:

“With more than five million people displaced as a result of the war in Ukraine, international attention and funding directed towards the crisis is warranted and needed, but it simultaneously highlights where attention and funding have dwindled. elsewhere. In Afghanistan, where more than half the population suffers from extreme hunger, only 13% of the humanitarian response plan has been funded, while Yemen, now entering its eighth year of conflict, faces the reality of having less than 30% of the total funds needed for humanitarian aid following the donors’ conference held earlier this month. This is woefully insufficient to address the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Yemen. If donors do not increase their pledges, we will see further cuts in essential humanitarian aid that will cost lives.

“Meanwhile, food insecurity in the Horn of Africa is precarious and is expected to worsen as the Ukraine crisis threatens grain dependence in the region. Four consecutive seasons without adequate rainfall have severely affected the crops on which millions of people across East Africa depend for their consumption and livelihoods. At least 4 million Somalis are expected to face emergency levels of hunger by June this year, and coupled with failing agricultural production, import disruptions from Ukraine will further increase humanitarian needs across the country. East Africa. In the Sahel, nearly 30 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, with vulnerabilities and needs worsening as climate shocks, conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to wreak havoc across the Sahel. the region.

“In January this year, IRC released its Emergency Watchlist, highlighting countries where humanitarian crises are most at risk of deteriorating. The international attention and influx of support and funding directed at the Ukraine crisis is of course warranted – but only serves to highlight areas where attention and funding have declined despite the severity of the crisis.

“People living in Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Syria and other countries facing massive and deteriorating humanitarian needs must not be left behind. Donors must at least commit to channeling 50% of total international assistance to fragile and conflict-affected states and to using diplomatic means to find political solutions to conflicts that create humanitarian needs.

The IRC is working with partners in Poland to provide information services through an existing hotline, offering legal advice and psychological support, and will facilitate access to services (through social workers, interpreters and cultural assistants) to displaced persons. With partners in Ukraine, IRC is also providing evacuation services and essential items to those who have been displaced based on individual needs. This may include blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothes or cash assistance.

About IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore the health, safety, education, economic well-being and power of people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC works in more than 40 countries and more than 20 American cities to help people survive, regain control of their future and strengthen their communities. . Learn more at and follow the IRC at Twitter & Facebook.


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