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Ukraine’s food supply chain is “falling apart” with trains and bridges destroyed and supermarket shelves empty amid a swelling refugee crisis, according to a U.N. official and data from the agency.
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“The country’s food supply chain is falling apart. Movements of goods have slowed down due to insecurity and the reluctance of drivers,” Jakob Kern, U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) Emergency Coordinator for the Ukraine crisis, told a Geneva press briefing Friday from Poland.
Shelves in a supermarket stand empty, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, March 4, 2022.
Meanwhile, 3,270,662 refugees have fled Ukraine as of Friday since Vladimir Putin invaded the country Feb. 24, according to the U.N. Nearly 2 million of those have landed in Poland as the crisis in Ukraine becomes increasingly more dire.
Food and water supplies are running out in encircled cities such as Mariupol and WFP convoys have been unable to enter. Ukraine’s collapsing supply chains are “triggering a wave of collateral hunger that is spreading across the globe,” according to a statement on the WFP’s website.
Due to the conflict and inflation, the cost of WFP’s global operations has shot up to an additional $71 million a month, which will hit vulnerable populations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Syria particularly hard, the agency said.
Reuters contributed to this report
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