First grain shipment leaving Ukraine offers glimmer of hope as we grapple with child hunger


The first shipment of grain from Ukraine’s Odesa sea port amid the war is a positive step in tackling a supercharged hunger crisis. But now, the compassion of everyday Australians is needed to help stop millions of children dying.

World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth said: “Millions of people around the world rely on Ukrainian grain, and blockades in Ukraine’s sea ports have been devastating for the most vulnerable. Grain has been stranded in the war-torn country for months, supercharging the hunger crisis and causing food shortages and massive price hikes across East Africa and the Middle East.

“These are places where 50 million people are on the verge of famine. We are literally taking food from the mouths of the hungry to feed the starving. It is incomprehensible, but there are actions we can take today, to benefit the lives of many tomorrow.

“Right now, some 20 million tonnes of grain is bottlenecked in Ukraine, and World Vision is hopeful that today’s shipment will be the first of many. We are hoping it will ease some of the suffering and contribute to more affordable prices for the worst affected people.

“It is important to stress, however, that grain export alone cannot solve this escalating hunger crisis – it is the combined result of climate change, COVID-19 and conflict.  This is a hunger crisis of the likes we haven’t seen this century. Only yesterday World Vision warned that in Somalia alone, 1.5 million children under 5 are suffering from severe malnutrition and many could die of starvation without immediate help. Across the Horn of Africa and in the Middle East, food isn’t just running out – it’s already run out.”

“This is a hunger time bomb and we know that everyday Australians do care, they care a lot. Now is the time to show it, and get food to these families before it’s too late.

“And now is the time for the Australian Government to show it cares too, with a $150 million famine package as an initial response.”

For information about how you can help go to:

Media Contact:  For further information or to organise an interview, please contact: Elissa Doherty at or on 0409 99 44 33

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