Experts say war started by Russia could cause “an unprecedented surge of famine and poverty” around the world
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Wednesday the global impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is worsening and could affect 1.6 billion people.
“The impact of the war on food security, energy and finance is systemic, serious and accelerating,” the Secretary General said as he presented the second U.N. report on the impact of the war in Ukraine.
He added that “for people around the world, the war threatens to cause an unprecedented wave of famine and poverty, leaving social and economic chaos behind.
Guterres said this year’s food crisis is linked to “lack of access” to basic food, and next year “may be linked to food shortages”.
“There is only one way to stop this impending storm: the Russian invasion of Ukraine must stop,” the UN Secretary General stressed.
The head of the global organization said he has asked his colleagues to help find “a package deal that allows the safe and reliable export of Ukrainian-made food across the Black Sea and unimpeded access to world markets for Russian food and fertilizers.”
“This deal is important for hundreds of millions of people in developing countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa,” Guterres said.
The U.N. report, prepared by diplomat Rebeca Greenspan, said some 94 countries with about 1.6 billion people are “seriously affected by at least one aspect of the crisis and unable to manage.”
“Of those 1.6 billion people, 1.2 billion, or three-quarters, live in countries where a ‘perfect storm’ could occur that are seriously vulnerable to all three aspects – finance, food and energy at once,” the report said.
The report says war could increase the number of people suffering from food shortages by 47 million in 2022 and bring the number to 323 million by the end of the year. Experts estimate that 58 million more Africans could fall below the poverty line this year.
According to the report, the number of people living in extreme poverty in the Middle East and North Africa could increase by 2.8 million in 2022, and 500 million people are at risk in South Asia.
“Particular efforts must be made to ensure that vital food and energy supplies reach the most vulnerable,” the report says.