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“Stores are empty, supplies are running out fast”

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Martin Frick of the UN World Food Program warns that more and more Ukrainians have nothing to eat. The consequences of the war would soon be felt throughout the world.

Protein cookies destined for Ukraine will be unloaded on March 3, 2022 in Rzeszów, Poland. © WFP/​Marco Frattini

Cities under siege, infrastructure destroyed: the Russian invasion has caused food supplies to collapse in parts of Ukraine. People are in dire need of food. The United Nations World Food Program is trying to bring food to the country under the most difficult circumstances, says Berlin office manager Martin Frick. And he explains why the war will also cause famine in other regions of the world.

ZEIT ONLINE: Mr Frick, how is the World Food Program currently dealing with Ukraine to help?

Martin Frick: We are building massive delivery routes to Ukraine to bring food into the country. 20,000 tons of food have been bought and now we have to cross the border in a coordinated way. Among other things, we have enabled a fleet of 65 trucks for this purpose. Members of the emergency team travel from all over the world and we work closely with local Ukrainian authorities and civil society. The first delivery went to Kharkiv last Saturday: bread for 60,000 people. We also delivered 500 tons of wheat and 30 tons of protein crackers to kyiv. And we plan to buy another 20,000 tons of food.

ZEIT ONLINE: Where are you as a humanitarian organization right now?

fuck: It is war. We cannot drive when there is a sharp fight. In Mariupol, for example, several attempts to establish a corridor through which people can enter and exit have failed. food could enter We can still enter other cities like kyiv or those in the west of the country, but we have to re-evaluate the security situation day by day.

ZEIT ONLINE: How urgent are the deliveries?

fuck: We see that the food supply for the population is deteriorating very rapidly, especially in the besieged cities. When the war started, supermarket shelves in Ukraine were stocked as usual. But since then no more supplies have arrived. Roads and bridges have been destroyed and the Russian armed forces are also attacking diesel depots, so supply routes within Ukraine no longer function properly. Stores are empty, personal supplies are running out fast. Now we are trying to get food to the besieged cities, but we really have to expect the worst in Ukraine.

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