US to Tap $670m in emergency food aid for six nations

Russia’s war in Ukraine has severely disrupted grain shipments.
A wheat warehouse in Ukraine. Image: AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

The Biden Administration is drawing on emergency funding powers not used since 2014 as part of an effort to provide $670 million in food aid to nations at severe risk of hunger because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The U.S. Agency for International Development will use $282 million from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust for buying U.S. food commodities to help existing food operations in six countries facing “severe food insecurity” — Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen — according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has severely disrupted grain shipments relied on by countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, threatening to throw millions of people into hunger as already elevated prices for fertilizer, crops and fuel have surged higher. Food prices are rising at the fastest clip ever and world leaders are scrambling to avert food shortages that could lead to increasing political unrest across the globe.

USDA will also provide $388 million in additional funding through the Commodity Credit Corporation to cover ocean freight transportation, inland transport, internal transport, shipping and handling and other related costs. This is the first time since 2014 the U.S. government has used such emergency funding authority for food aid, USDA said.

The White House earlier this week was considering attaching a global food aid request to the military aid package for Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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