The head of the U.N. World Food Program said people are being “starved to death” in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and he predicted the country’s humanitarian crisis is likely to worsen as Russia intensifies its assault in the coming weeks.
WFP executive director David Beasley also warned in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in Kyiv that Russia’s invasion of grain-exporting Ukraine risks destabilizing nations far from its shores and could trigger waves of migrants seeking better lives elsewhere.
The war that began Feb. 24 was “devastating the people in Ukraine,” Beasley said, lamenting the lack of access faced by the WFP and other aid organizations in trying to reach those in need amid the conflict.
The fluid nature of the conflict, which has seen fighting shift away from areas around the capital and toward eastern Ukraine, has made it especially difficult to reach hungry Ukrainians.
The WFP is trying to put food supplies now in areas that could be caught up in the fighting, but Beasley acknowledged that there are “a lot of complexities” as the situation rapidly evolves.