Ukraine Conflict Leaves 1.5 Million People Hungry

In Ukraine, cash and food voucher assistance by WFP allow people to go to the market and pick the food they prefer. Photo: WFP / Abeer Etefa
In Ukraine, cash and food voucher assistance by WFP allow people to go to the market and pick the food they prefer. Photo: WFP / Abeer Etefa

The two-year long conflict in eastern Ukraine has left around 1.5 million people hungry, including almost 300,000 people who are severely food insecure and in need of immediate food assistance, the United Nations food relief agency said Monday.

“Two years of violence, shelling and fear have left an indelible mark on thousands of people in eastern Ukraine,” said World Food Programme (WFP) country representative Giancarlo Stopponi.

“As the conflict continues, we need to reach these people urgently. We appeal to all parties of the conflict to facilitate full and unimpeded humanitarian access to people in need across the country.”

WFP aims to reach nearly 270,000 of the most vulnerable people with monthly food assistance over the first half of this year.

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Since November 2014, WFP says it has distributed emergency assistance to over half a million people in need, including 370,000 people who received monthly food packages and 180,000 people who received assistance through cash-based transfers in areas where markets are still functioning.

People living in the non-government controlled area of Luhansk and near the conflict line are the most affected by food insecurity: over half of the population, in both the government-controlled area and non-government controlled area, experienced a complete loss or a significant reduction of income.

With no presence in Ukraine before the crisis, WFP now cooperates with other UN agencies to provide assistance to those who had to leave their homes, people returning home, and people still trapped in conflict hotspots.

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Rakesh Raman