New York, June 9: War in Ukraine has left an estimated 1.6 billion people in 94 countries exposed to at least one dimension of finance, food, or energy crisis, with around 1.2 billion living in "perfect-storm" countries severely vulnerable to all three areas, the policy brief by the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) has revealed.

The report published on June 8 calls for stabilizing record-high food and fuel prices, implementing social safety nets, and increasing financial support to developing countries. Global Food Crisis: More Countries Are Putting Food Export Controls in Place Amid Concern Over Rising Prices.

The UN report warns that "time is short" to prevent a food crisis in 2023 in which we will have both a problem with food access and food availability. "If the war continues and high prices of grain and fertilizers persist into the next planting season, food availability will be reduced at the worst possible time, and the present crisis in corn, wheat and vegetable oil could extend to other staples, affecting billions more people," it added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the ripple effects of the Ukraine war have generated a severe cost-of-living crisis which no country or community can escape.

At the launch of the latest report on the conflict's impacts on food security, energy, and financing, the UN chief said the message is clear and insistent: countries must act now to save lives and livelihoods. "Three months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we face a new reality," he told reporters.

"For those on the ground, every day brings new bloodshed and suffering. And for people around the world, the war is threatening to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake."

The crisis is amplifying the consequences of other challenges confronting countries, such as the climate emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, and inequalities in resources for post-pandemic recovery. The increase in hunger since the start of the war could be higher and more widespread, according to the report.

The number of severely food insecure people doubled from 135 million prior to the pandemic, to 276 million over just two years. The ripple effects of the war could push this number to 323 million.

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