Russia’s unprovoked, brutal war against Ukraine has not gone according to plan. Ukraine refuses to give up its fight for its democracy and acquiesce to Russia’s demands. Russia has attacked the civilian population with bombs, landmines, tanks and heavy artillery in its zeal to force Ukraine to its knees, yet Ukraine perseveres.
Russia has also weaponized food, destroying grain silos and other storage, mining fields, attacking food processing and testing facilities, and stealing grain and farm equipment. It has blockaded Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, preventing Ukrainian food and fertilizer from reaching far-away countries who are in desperate need of it.
Every minute, nearly 100 “more people will be pushed into a state of hunger and poverty as a result of Putin’s war,” said USAID Administrator Samantha Power.
“Every minute Putin’s blockade of Ukraine’s grain lasts, every minute his export ban on fertilizer continues, every minute his attack on Ukraine compounds the climate and price shocks that our world was already facing, every minute a 100 more people suffer gravely.”
According to the UN, as a result of Putin’s war, as many as 31 million more people could be pushed into poverty this year, with half of them facing starvation. Presently the greatest need is in the Horn of Africa, which is suffering through its fourth straight season of drought.
“Already the drought in the Horn of Africa is leading to millions of dead livestock—and what UNICEF predicts will be ‘an explosion of child deaths,’” said Administrator Power.
At the recent Ministerial Conference, G-7 leaders pledged to contribute 4.5 billion dollars to address global food security. With President Biden’s commitment of 2.76 billion dollars, over half that amount will come from the United States. Two billion dollars of this money will help save lives through emergency aid interventions, while 760 million dollars is earmarked for sustainable near-term food assistance to provide immediate food security assistance to vulnerable countries most severely impacted by the invasion.
“Most of our response will come down, if we’re honest, to providing emergency assistance, and this, simply put, is about mobilizing money, much much more money,” said Administrator Power at the G-7 summit. “Each of us must match the generosity we have shown toward Ukraine with resources to assist what are, for now, less visible victims of the war.
“We do not have a minute to spare.”