WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (KUNA) -- The US announced Tuesday evening that it is providing through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) over USD 68 million in additional funding to the UN World Food Program (WFP) "to purchase, move and store up to 150,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat to help respond to the world's worst food crises."
The USAID said in a statement "the world is facing its most severe food crisis in decades. In order to save lives, humanitarians need access to all available grain stores to deliver to the populations that need it most."
"Before Russia's invasion, Ukraine was one of WFP's top suppliers of grain and the fourth largest commercial exporter of wheat," the statement added.
It stressed that "opening the Ukrainian market is a vital step forward in our emergency response."
It affirmed that this additional 150,000 metric tons of wheat supported by USAID "will support ongoing emergency food assistance in countries facing severe food crises."
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement in this regard that "the purchase of 150,000 metric tons of wheat builds on an initial WFP shipment of 23,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat and will support the humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa, where a historic drought is pushing millions of people to the brink of starvation."
He added that "while the resumption of exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports is a positive step in addressing the needs of food insecure countries, these shipments must continue so that the millions of tons of food trapped in the country can reach markets and help feed the world's most vulnerable."
"The United States remains committed to supporting global food security in the face of climate change, pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and armed conflicts, including Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine," he affirmed. (end)