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UN: Millions of people could be affected by poverty if the war in Ukraine continues. Food crisis threatens Latin America

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“Millions of people could be affected by poverty and food insecurity if the conflict in Ukraine continues,” said Lola Castro, director of the Panama-based WFP office in Latin America and the Caribbean.

At least 9.3 million people in the region suffer from food insecurity, and that figure could “in the worst case” reach 13.3 million if the conflict continues, according to a statement from the UN agency.

“Commodity and energy prices have risen (…) Rising food inflation threatens the region, where many countries are heavily dependent on grain imports,” especially in the Caribbean, WFP said.

Commodity prices have skyrocketed

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Prices per tonne of basic necessities such as rice, black beans, lentils and oil increased by 27% between January and April, and by 111% between January 2019 and April 2022, the UN agency points out.

Prior to the conflict, Russia was the largest exporter of wheat in the world, while Ukraine was in 4th place and was on the verge of 3rd. The Latin American and Caribbean region “is already affected by COVID-19, rising prices and extreme weather events,” said Lola Castro.

WFP has launched an international call for donations of more than $ 315 million to cover the costs of its operations to provide humanitarian aid to the region over the next six months.

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“The number of people affected by food insecurity is growing, and the gap between our financial needs and available resources continues to widen,” the WFP official said.

On February 24, Russia launched an unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine, with Moscow claiming that it was a special military operation to denasitize the neighboring country.

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