New York, NY, July 17, 2023 — David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said, “The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is deeply alarmed at Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, putting the future of the grain exports from the region at risk- a decision which will be most painfully felt by the 349 million people around the world facing food insecurity today. From Ukraine to Somalia, IRC’s clients are facing the ripple effects on food and energy prices of 500 days of war. The expiration of the deal risks holding global food security at ransom.
“Approximately 80% of East Africa's grain is imported from Russia and Ukraine. With over 50 million people across East Africa facing hunger at crisis levels (IPC 3+) and food prices up by nearly 40% this year. Any disruption to the global food supplies at a time of heightened need could have devastating consequences.
“The world’s most vulnerable will face the harshest consequences of today’s withdrawal.Without the grain deal in place, it is all the more urgent that the United Nations humanitarian response plans for countries at risk of famine are fully funded and that global efforts to prevent famine from taking hold are coordinated through a re-energized UN's High-Level Task Force on Preventing Famine.”