The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has called for renewal of the United Nations-brokered Black Seas Grain deal which is set to expire on 18 March as more than 40 million people remain at risk in East Africa.
Development Diaries reports that the humanitarian organisation made the call in a statement warning that the renewal of the deal is needed to avert impending famine and hunger in the region.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in July 2022, is a UN-brokered deal Initiative between Russia, Türkey, Ukraine and the United Nations; and the Memorandum of Understanding between Russia and the UN to facilitate unimpeded exports of food and fertiliser.
‘It is absolutely critical that the UN renews the Black Sea Grain Deal for 12 months prior to its expiration on March 18’, IRC’s Regional Emergency Director of East Africa, Shashwat Saraf, said in the statement.
‘Countries across East Africa are depending on it, as they face the most severe hunger crisis of our lifetime. Somalia is on the verge of famine and is facing an unprecedented drought, and Kenya and Ethiopia have incredibly alarming hunger statistics.
‘Without a Grain Deal renewal, Somalia is likely to reach famine faster and Kenya and Ethiopia will continue to suffer’.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, about 20 million tonnes of grain were stuck in Ukrainian silos and unavailable for export. This led to food price inflation doubling in East Africa.
Millions of people are left facing extreme hunger in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya as they struggle to tame the devastating impact of armed violence and climate shocks.
The East African region gets 90 percent of its grains from Russia and Ukraine.
Development Diaries believes that the renewal of the Black Seas Grain deal will help to avert the possible death of millions, including children in East Africa, and calls on the UN to ensure a speedy renewal of the deal.
Photo source: IRC