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World Food Programme says food supply chains ‘falling apart’ in Ukraine

GENEVA (CNA) – A World Food Programme (WFP) official said yesterday food supply chains in Ukraine were collapsing, with a portion of infrastructure destroyed and many grocery stores and warehouses empty.

“The country’s food supply chain is falling apart. Movements of goods have slowed down due to insecurity and the reluctance of drivers,” WFP Emergency Coordinator for the Ukraine crisis Jakob Kern told a Geneva press briefing by videolink from Poland.

He also expressed concern about the situation in “encircled cities” such as Mariupol, saying that food and water supplies were running out and that its convoys had been unable to enter the city.

WFP buys nearly half of its wheat supplies from Ukraine and Kern said that the crisis there since the Russian invasion on February 24 pushed up food prices sharply.

“With global food prices at an all-time high, WFP is also concerned about the impact of the Ukraine crisis on food security globally, especially hunger hot spots,” he said, warning of “collateral hunger” in other places.

The agency is paying USD71 million a month extra for food this year due to both inflation and the Ukraine crisis, he said, adding that such an amount would cover the food supplies for four million people.

“We are changing suppliers now but that has an impact on prices,” he said. “The further away you buy it, the more expensive it gets.”