The World Food Program reports that millions of Ukrainians are struggling to find enough food as the Russian invasion continues.
World Food Program spokesman Tomson Phiri said fighting and instability in Ukraine have cut off people’s access to a steady supply of food and other basics.
The country’s economy has been on a downward spiral since the Russian invasion five months ago. The intense fighting caused a mass exodus of people, with around 5 million people fleeing to other countries. In addition, according to the United Nations, 7 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine.
Phiri says households are in dire economic straits, with 1 in 3 Ukrainian families unable to get adequate food. This number, he says, rises to 1 in 2 families in certain areas of the east and south, where the fighting is particularly intense.
“The World Food Program has rapidly scaled up its assistance through food or cash distributions in Ukraine, reaching 2.6 million people in June, and continues to work with partners to reach areas close to the front lines. “, Phiri said. “In these areas, the fighting is preventing people, especially the elderly and families with children, from accessing food.
Phiri says the WFP is buying as much food as it can from Ukraine to boost the country’s ailing economy. Wherever there is access to banks and markets, he says WFP supports people with cash, empowering them to make their own food decisions.
“WFP has transferred a total of $140 million in cash and vouchers to nearly 1.9 million people since April. The rest received in-kind support,” Phiri said. “People get their money within 72 hours of signing up. Every dollar spent is directly injected into the local economy.
Phiri says the WFP is also preparing to provide food aid to more than 300,000 Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries. He specifies that this operation also includes assistance to host communities.
For example, he says a second round of cash transfers is underway for around 15,000 Moldovan families hosting Ukrainian refugees. The money, he says, will help them reduce the expenses incurred in feeding and caring for these refugees.