The impact of the conflict in Ukraine has been reverberating around the world with record-breaking numbers of people fleeing as refugees and prices hiking from fuel to food prices. While war rages on in the Eastern European country, areas in other places around the world that are hardest hit are those that had been weakened by natural disaster or war prior to Russia invading neighboring Ukraine.
In some parts of East Africa where there have been lower than expected amounts of rainfall in March, there is a risk of extreme hunger. According to Oxfam, up to 28 million people could be affected. The UK-based charity has highlighted what it views as the distraction of the international community because of the Ukraine conflict, leading to a neglect of the food crisis facing East Africa.
The International Executive Director for Oxfam, Gabriela Bucher, has warned that the conflict will affect the world’s most vulnerable.
“The repercussions of the Ukrainian conflict on the global food system will reverberate around the globe, but it is the poorest and most vulnerable people who will be among those hit hardest and fastest,” she said.
For many African governments, global hikes in food and commodity prices related to Covid-19, have already made the fight against hunger a tough one. The food crisis is exacerbated in countries that depend heavily on wheat imports from Eastern Europe. According to the World Food Program, food supply chains are falling apart in Ukraine. This has a domino effect on Eastern African countries that import up to 90% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine. The situation is not aided by droughts that are reportedly affecting local food production.
In a press release published March 22, Oxfam decried the “woefully underfunded” global response to the food crisis, stating that a meagre 3% of the $6bn UN 2022 humanitarian appeal for Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan had been funded. Gabriela Bucher urges action before time runs out, “Areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and beyond are experiencing an unfolding full-scale catastrophe. Even if the rains do arrive this month, full recovery will be near impossible unless urgent action is taken today.”