If the world does not address the serious food crisis caused by Russia, the record 100 million displaced could continue to add “a large number of people,” warned the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“What is done to address the food insecurity crisis … is of crucial importance to prevent further displacement,” Filippo Grandi told a news conference.
Although he does not indicate a figure, “it will be a large number,” said the High Commissioner when presenting the organization’s 2021 annual report.
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Russia’s war in Ukraine is depriving the world of grain and fertilizer, driving up prices and threatening millions of people around the world with starvation.
“The impact, if not resolved soon, will be devastating,” warns Grandi, who then corrects himself by saying, “It’s already devastating.”
The issue occupies the ministerial meeting of the WTO, in Geneva, as well as the Human Rights Council and the highest levels of the UN.
At the end of 2021, there were 89.3 million refugees and internally displaced persons in the world, more than double the number ten years ago, including 53.2 million internally displaced persons and 27.1 million refugees.
But the Russian invasion has caused between 12 and 14 million Ukrainians to set out to seek refuge elsewhere in their country or abroad, a human avalanche that in May raised for the first time to more than 100 million the number of displaced people in the world.
“Every year of the last decade, the figures have been increasing”Grandi said. “Either the international community mobilizes to respond to this human tragedy, to end conflicts and achieve lasting solutions, or this dramatic trend will continue.”
A huge wave of solidarity greeted Ukrainians across Europe, in contrast to the treatment usually reserved for refugees from other war-torn countries such as Syria or Afghanistan.
As for the financial aid available, the contrast is the same, according to Grandi: large amounts of money arrive to help Ukrainian refugees when they seem to be missing whenever the UN asks for it for serious crises. “We cannot have an inequitable response”, as happened with the covid-19 vaccines, said the High Commissioner
Grandi took the opportunity to reiterate his “great concern” for the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, two regions that bring together everything that forces people to flee: conflict, insecurity, poor governance and the often violent effects of climate change.
He also spoke of the situation in Latin America, evoking population movements that are “very complex, like those we see throughout Central America” and citing, among others, the case of Costa Rica.
“Who speaks of 150,000 Nicaraguans andin Costa Rica? And yet it is a big problem for Costa Rica”, he points out, highlighting that the displacements are not only to USA
“In reality, people are also moving south, towards Costa Rica, and it is very symbolic because there is still, I am sorry to say, the perception that refugee crises are only crises that affect the North,” he says.
The invasion of Ukraine “It has dealt a terrible blow to international cooperation,” According to Grandi
Even if the conflict were to end soon “the rift between the West and Russia, and even among key members of the Security Council, they are so severe that they will take a long time to heal.” And “if they don’t heal, I don’t know how we are going to be able to manage this crisis,” says the High Commissioner.