The first vessel transporting Ukrainian wheat grain to support humanitarian operations run by the World Food Program (WFP) has left the port of Yuzhny, also known as Pivdennyi, the UN agency reported on Tuesday.
The MV Brave Commander departed with 23,000 metric tons of wheat grain for WFP’s response in the Horn of Africa, where the threat of famine is looming due to severe drought.
This is the first shipment of humanitarian food assistance under the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed by Ukraine, Russia, Türkiye and the UN in July.
It marks another important milestone in efforts to get much-needed Ukrainian grain out of the war-torn country and back into global markets, to reach people worst affected by the global food crisis.
“Getting the Black Sea Ports open is the single most important thing we can do right now to help the world’s hungry,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
“It will take more than grain ships out of Ukraine to stop world hunger, but with Ukrainian grain back on global markets we have a chance to stop this global food crisis from spiraling even further,” he added.
WFP will use the wheat grain shipment to scale-up its efforts in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, supporting more than 1.5 million people affected by drought.
Globally, a record 345 million people in more than 80 countries are currently facing acute food insecurity, while up to 50 million people in 45 countries are at risk of being pushed into famine without humanitarian support, according to the UN, which explained that the current hunger crisis is being driven by several factors including conflicts, climate impacts, and the COVID-19 pandemic.