War in Ukraine driving world hunger: UN Chief

Villagers walk past unexploded artillery shells as they collect scrap metal from a bombed warehouse in the village of Malaya Rohan, Kharkiv region, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Photo: AP via RSS

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations chief said Wednesday he is in “intense contacts” with Russia and other countries to stop escalating global hunger exacerbated by the war in Ukraine by allowing the export of grain stored in Ukrainian ports and ensuring Russian food and fertilisers have unrestricted access to world markets.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he’s hopeful after discussions with Moscow, Ukraine, Turkey, the US, European Union and other key countries.

Guterres said Ukraine and Russia together produce almost a third of the world’s wheat and barley and half of its sunflower oil, and Russia and its ally Belarus are the world’s number two and three producers of potash, a key ingredient of fertilizer.

The secretary-general said the number of people facing severe food insecurity has doubled in just two years from 135 million pre-pandemic to 276 million today.

By RSS/AP

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