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Blockade of 20 million tons of grain in Ukraine threatens a world famine

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell.

“The hunger of the people cannot be used as a weapon of war,” he snapped a few days ago the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs, Joseph Borell. This has already led to a record increase in grain prices on the world market and, according to various organizations, could cause a global food crisis and rising inflation.

Some 7 million tons of wheat, 14 million tons of corn grain, 3 million tons of sunflower oil and another 3 million tons of sunflower meal have not been able to reach international markets due to the Russian blockade of ports Ukrainians, according to the kyiv government.

Despite the fact that its main ports, in Odessa and Mariupol, continue to be blocked by the war, Ukraine has managed to export about 1.5 million tons of cereals by landwith the use of the railway and roads that are not damaged, as reported by the ambassador of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Olha Trofimtseva.

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell.

EU

In this context, the diplomat praised the efforts of Poland, Germany and other countries to build transit centers at the borders, speed up the passage of trains with Ukrainian grains between countries to ports where they can be loaded onto ships, she specified.

End the blockade in Ukraine

The governments of Turkey and the United Kingdom insisted this Thursday on the need to create a system that allows the tons of cereals blocked in Ukraine to be released from the markets due to the Russian invasion, with London warning that if there is no solution next month, a “global famine” could ensue.

“It is urgent that measures be taken during the next month, before the new harvest,” warned the British Foreign Minister, Elizabeth Truss, during a press conference in Ankara with her Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavusoglu.

If this problem is not solved, a massive world famine is likely.“said the minister, who stressed that Turkey is playing an important role in the negotiations to unblock exports of wheat and other foods from Ukraine.

[Guerra de cereales: Rusia roba el grano a Ucrania y amenaza al mundo con una crisis alimentaria]

Truss accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of use hunger as a weapon by blocking some 20 million tons of grain in Ukrainian seaports.

The United Nations called last May for the immediate reopening of the port of Odessa to alleviate the world food crisis. The executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasley, then made an appeal to unblock the tons of Ukrainian grain that are waiting in the southern ports of the country to be able to be exported.

“Ukrainian barns are full. At the same time, 44 million people around the world are close to starvation. We have little time left. The cost of doing nothing will be much higher than people can imagine.”

Russian navy keeps Ukraine’s exits to the Dead Sea blockedin addition to having massacred Odessa, the port city of southwestern Ukraine, with its constant attacks.

Çavusoglu, for his part, insisted that if an agreement is reached, under the supervision of the United Nations, a safe passage will be created for merchant ships to leave Ukraine’s territorial waters and a control center will be installed in Istanbul.

[La guerra de Ucrania causa un huracán de hambrunas en África: “Habrá millones de muertes infantiles”]

“The ships that go to the Ukrainian ports will be inspected to ensure that they do not transport weapons,” said the minister, who insisted on the need to give guarantees to Russia.

In this regard, Borrell stressed that “the problem comes from the Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain. Millions of tons of wheat are blocked and millions of people will not be able to eat that wheat, so the war is going to have dramatic consequences for the world.” “We ask Russia to unblock the (Ukrainian) ports and allow this product to go out“, he concluded.

Global danger of famine

The United Nations Organization (UN) has warned that the rise in fuel prices, the energy crisis and the increase in the cost of basic foodstuffs, generated in part by the commercial blockade of Ukrainian wheat exports, a fundamental source of food for a handful of countries, have generated a perfect storm that will lead to a “famine hurricane“.

While Europe and the United States will suffer this setback translated into a rise in basic food pricesin Africa the food crisis will culminate in malnutrition, disease and death. A time bomb that has been brewing for years.

The famine hurricane caused by Ukraine devastates Africa.

The famine hurricane caused by Ukraine devastates Africa.

Somalia, one of the poorest in the continent, will be one of the hardest hit. Used to import 92% of wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but right now the international supply lines are in tatters. The situation is dramatic. This lack, added to droughts, ethnic conflicts and diseases caused by the measles or cholera virus, among other catastrophes, will intensify the problems of child malnutrition and deaths due to lack of food in Somali territory.

Chad, the fourth country from the bottom in the Human Development Index (HDI), has already declared a “food emergency”. Of its almost 6 million inhabitants, a third is in danger of death and needs “urgent humanitarian aid“, as pointed out by the Transitional Military Council that governs the country. Almost 50% of Chadian inhabitants live in extreme povertya situation that will intensify in the coming months due to the food crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Written by Editor TLN

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