Press Release

Remarks of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Denise Brown on WFP vessel departure from Odesa

14 August 2022

Media Briefing 14 August 2022

Photo: © OCHA/Saviano Abreu

Thank you very much Minister; and thanks to the colleagues from the media for the opportunity to talk to you today.

I arrived in Ukraine a week ago;

I arrived from a country whose population is suffering from conflict and lack of access to food – where mothers don’t know where the next meal for their children will come from.

Mothers every where , we know, how unimaginable it is that a child goes hungry. Hunger is painful, physically painful

And in Ukraine, you are suffering from the scourge of war; a war that none of us understand.

Take away our labels and our titles, we are all people at the end of the day, and we just don’t understand.

Today we are connected through our shared humanity – and we nod our heads in admiration and respect for the people of Ukraine, and their fortitude and courage

But that is not enough

The Black Sea Agreement serves to support the farmers of Ukraine – yes it will take time, but the ships are moving now – Over the last two weeks, 14 commercial vessels were sent to the world’s market. Not enough, but the system is in place.

It also supports hungry people across the world.

This first shipment of humanitarian assistance, organized by the World Food Programme, enable the UN and our humanitarian partners to literally save lives and alleviate the suffering of millions of people who are now struggling to put food on their table in Ethiopia. The country has been severely hit by the worse drought the Horn of Africa has experienced in decades.

Food sometimes just isn’t available or only available for those who have money to pay the increased cost.

And what about the people of Ukraine

The war has severely impacted agriculture here in the country, leaving thousands of farmers without income and one in three families food insecure. The closure of the ports had left thousands of people without livelihood at a moment when the war was also devastating Ukraine’s economy.

Now, today, we already have nearly 18 million people in the country who need humanitarian aid to survive. And the situation is getting worse by the day.

Local, National and International partners are working to provide that assistance. We managed to reach nearly 12 million in the last six months, but we need to do more.

And we will do more to work with the local organizations – those who were there from day 1.

We need to reach people in need no matter where they are.

Since the war began, the UN and our humanitarian partners have been prevented from sending supplies to areas temporarily beyond the control of the Government of Ukraine. It is imperative that we can provide assistance to everyone who needs it, no matter where they live.

The winter months will soon be upon us – we are working together with the government and regional authorities on winterization – together we need to ensure the population of Ukraine has a safe, dignified and warm place.

The partnership between the UN and Government of Ukraine is key to doing more.

Saviano Abreu

Saviano Abreu

Spokesperson - Head of Communications

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
World Food Programme

Goals we are supporting through this initiative