Accessibility links

Breaking News

WFP Says Millions in Ukraine Having Trouble Finding Enough Food

An elderly woman receives humanitarian food aid from the Kramatorsk city council, eastern Ukraine, July 7, 2022.
An elderly woman receives humanitarian food aid from the Kramatorsk city council, eastern Ukraine, July 7, 2022.

The World Food Program reports millions of Ukrainians are having difficulty finding enough food as Russia’s invasion continues.

World Food Program spokesman Tomson Phiri says fighting and instability in Ukraine has cut off peoples’ access to steady supplies of food and other basic commodities.

The country’s economy has been on a downward spiral since Russia invaded five months ago. Intense fighting has prompted a mass exodus of people, with an estimated 5 million fleeing to other countries. In addition, the United Nations says 7 million people are displaced within Ukraine.

Phiri says households are in dire economic straits, with 1 in 3 Ukrainian families unable to obtain adequate food. This number, he says, rises to 1 in 2 families in some areas of the east and south, where fighting is particularly intense.

“The World Food Program has rapidly scaled up assistance through food distributions or cash in Ukraine, reaching 2.6 million people in June, and continues to work with partners to reach areas close to front lines," said Phiri. "In these areas, fighting is preventing people, especially the elderly and families with children, from accessing food.”

Phiri says WFP is buying as much food as it can inside Ukraine to boost the country’s failing economy. Wherever there is access to banks and markets, he says WFP is supporting people with cash, allowing them to make their own food decisions.

“WFP has transferred a total $140 million cash and vouchers to close to 1.9 million people since April. The rest have been reached with in-kind support," said Phiri. "People receive their cash within 72 hours of registering. Every dollar spent is directly injected into the local economy.”

Phiri says WFP also is preparing to provide food assistance to more than 300,000 Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries. He says this operation includes aid for the hosting communities as well.

For example, he says a second round of cash transfers is underway for an estimated 15,000 Moldovan families hosting Ukrainian refugees. The money, he says, will help them reduce the expenses incurred in feeding and caring for these refugees.