Civilian deaths in Ukraine war now at 816, over 1,333 injured: UN

Civilian deaths in Ukraine war now at 816, over 1,333 injured: UN

World Food Program warns Ukraine's food chain falling apart due to bombings, destroyed supply lines

By Peter Kenny

GENEVA (AA) – Ukraine's civilian death toll since Russia's war began reached 816 Friday, while 1,333 have been wounded, the UN Human Rights Office said amid warnings the country's food supply chain is falling apart and is affecting other global hunger spots.

The Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that most of the civilian casualties were caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, and missile and airstrikes.

"OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed," said the Human Rights Office.

The UN Refugee Agency said the number of people fleeing Ukraine stood at 3,270,662, with almost 1.98 million of them going to neighboring Poland, nearly 509,000 to Romania, more than 355,000 to Moldova, and over 234,000 to Slovakia.

Nearly 185,000 refugees have also gone to Russia, according to UN records.

Jakob Kern, World Food Program coordinator for the Ukraine crisis, told a UN press conference in Geneva that the WFP is deeply concerned for families affected by the rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

As the world's largest and fourth-largest exporters of wheat, Russia and Ukraine are critical players to ensure the food security of numerous countries around the world.

- 29% of global wheat trade

Combined, the two countries are responsible for 29% of the global wheat trade, said Poland's WFP official near the Ukraine border.

"The ongoing conflict has not only forced millions of people to flee their homes and brought many more to the brink of hunger, but it is also threatening food security globally, especially in hunger hotspots.

"The consequences of this conflict are radiating outwards, triggering a wave of collateral hunger across the globe."

He said that WFP has mobilized enough food supplies to provide food assistance to 3 million women, children, and men inside Ukraine for one month.

"The country's food supply chain is falling apart: trucks and trains are being destroyed, airports bombed, many bridges have fallen, supermarkets emptied, and warehouses drained," said Kern.

"Inside Ukraine, WFP's job is, in effect, to replace broken commercial food supply chains."

He said that given the complexity on the ground and the security challenges, "this is a mammoth task that takes time."

With global food prices at an all-time high, WFP is also concerned about the impact of the Ukraine crisis on food security globally, especially hunger hotspots.

"The consequences of the conflict in Ukraine are radiating outwards, triggering a wave of collateral hunger across the globe," said Kern.

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