The war in Ukraine would create a global food crisis “beyond anything… seen since World War II”, ABC News reported the United Nations (UN) food chief as saying.

UN World Food Programme executive director David Beasley told the UN Security Council that high food prices were still rising, according to the 30 March report.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, the UN agency was feeding 125M people around the world, Beasley said, and it had now had to cut rations due to rising food, fuel and shipping costs.

In Yemen, for example, 8M people had had their food allocation reduced by 50%, he said.

“We’re now looking at going to zero rations,” he added.

The war in Ukraine was also having a devastating effect on countries like Egypt and Lebanon, which both imported more than 80% of their grain from Ukraine in 2020, Beasley said.

Taken together, Ukraine and Russia produce 30% of the world's wheat supply, 20% of corn and 75%-80% of sunflowerseed oil, according to the report.

The World Food Programme bought 50% of its grain from Ukraine, Beasley said.

However, Beasley warned that the focus on Ukraine should not lead the international community to neglect Africa, especially the Sahel, and the Middle East.

“If we end the conflict, address the needs, we can avoid famine, destabilisation of nations and mass migration,” he said. “But if we don’t, the world will pay a mighty price and the last thing we want to do as the World Food Programme is take food from hungry children to give to starving children,” he added.