Advertisement

B.C. man part of United Nations effort to get food supplies to war-weary Ukraine

Click to play video: 'An urgent call for help as the war in Ukraine leads to depleting resources available to the World Food Programme' An urgent call for help as the war in Ukraine leads to depleting resources available to the World Food Programme
It is a humanitarian effort of massive proportion--providing food supplies to those displaced by the war in Ukraine. That is the enormous task of the United Nations World Food Programme, which a former Shuswap man plays a major role in. As the organization responds swiftly to the emergency, it is faced with a number of challenges including depleting resources. Klaudia Van Emmerik has more – Mar 25, 2022

The United Nations says its world food programme is aiming to stave off hunger faced by Ukrainians still inside the war-ravaged country.

Among those spearheading the massive effort is a former B.C. resident from Salmon Arm who is chief of staff for the world’s largest humanitarian organization.

“It’s about getting as much food in as quickly as we can and particularly to communities that we fear may become besieged at some point,” Robert Turner told Global News.

“And so, we want to create strategic stocks inside those communities.”

Read more: Russia’s war on Ukraine could escalate with Putin showing resistance to West: experts

The organization’s emergency operation is focused on getting desperately needed food supplies to people fleeing Ukraine.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’ve provided food assistance to more than 700,000 people inside Ukraine,” said Turner. “That’ll be a million by the end of this month. It’ll be two-and-a-half million during the course of April.”

But the biggest challenge Turner says is access — particularly in the hardest-hit areas.

“The areas that you’re seeing on TV where … there’s no running water, where the power is out, there’s no fuel, no food or limited, we simply can’t get there,” he said, adding “we have food in trucks literally ready to go to Mariupol if we get access.”

Click to play video: 'Ukraine asks for additional Western assistance' Ukraine asks for additional Western assistance
Ukraine asks for additional Western assistance – Mar 25, 2022

The dire situation in Ukraine is expected to have major implications for food security and prices around the world.

With increased food and shipping costs, Turner says the programme can’t sustain critical operations to feed the world’s hungriest people. In fact, he says it’s already had to scale back some its food assistance programs.

Story continues below advertisement

“In the Sahel area of West Africa, a dramatic need has increased. We have drought in the Horn of Africa and Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, 13 million people require food assistance,” he said.

“In Yemen, we’ve already had to reduce rations for 8 million people. In Afghanistan, we’re afraid that we won’t be able to sustain the operation.”

Click to play video: 'Canadian military aid for Ukraine' Canadian military aid for Ukraine
Canadian military aid for Ukraine – Mar 25, 2022

That has the organization pleading for financial help as the war in Ukraine has the potential to make things even worse.

Turner says the fear is funding operations in Ukraine will drain needed funding for other critical operations.

“The conflict in Ukraine is having an impact far beyond that region,” he said. “And so it’s a global problem that requires a global response.”

Story continues below advertisement

More information about the world food programme can be found on this website.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Evidence growing of mass graves in Mariupol, UN says' Russia-Ukraine conflict: Evidence growing of mass graves in Mariupol, UN says
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Evidence growing of mass graves in Mariupol, UN says – Mar 25, 2022

Sponsored content