More than 1.6 million people have already fled their homes in Ukraine. An estimated one million people have sought refuge in other parts of the country, and 660,000 more in neighboring countries. People are in urgent need of food, water, shelter, and health services.
With no end in sight to the crisis, Action Against Hunger is deeply concerned about the safety of people, public spaces like hospitals and schools, and humanitarian workers who are mobilizing to help. Safe, unrestricted humanitarian access must be guaranteed.
Action Against Hunger calls on parties to the conflict to fulfil their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructures from the direct and indirect impacts of hostilities. We urge parties to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2417, which condemns the use of hunger as a weapon of war.
THE LOOMING THREAT OF HUNGER
Conflict drives hunger. Even before this crisis, 1.5 million people in Eastern Ukraine were in need of food security and livelihoods assistance last year– a 51% increase compared to 2020. Instability makes it harder for people to grow food, access and maintain markets, and maintain their livelihoods. As a result, food prices have been increasing.
This conflict and food crisis will have implications beyond Ukraine: dozens of countries rely on Ukrainian harvests to feed their people. The Middle East and Africa absorbed nearly 40% of Ukraine’s exports of corn and wheat in 2021. Global food prices, which were already the highest they have been in a decade, could rise and result in increased food insecurity around the world.
ACTION AGAINST HUNGER’S RESPONSE
Existing humanitarian organizations in Ukraine will not have the capacity to deal with soaring needs. Action Against Hunger has experience working in Ukraine and, together with our partners and contacts, our emergency teams are assessing the situation and exploring the most effective ways to respond to humanitarian needs. We are also sending exploratory missions to Poland and Moldova to evaluate how we can help meet the needs of refugees.
Early reports indicate that the most urgent humanitarian needs are for cash, mental health services, healthcare, and water, sanitation, and hygiene. We urge donors to quickly step up to provide urgent and flexible funding to respond to this rapidly changing situation.