On Easter Sunday, "Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan" explored rising global food insecurity from the war in Ukraine with David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme. The show also took an in-depth look at the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border with the executive director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley,.
Ukraine is a major producer and exporter of agricultural products. In 2021, it exported more than $27 billion of products such as corn, sunflower seed, wheat, rapeseed and barley. According to a U.N. report, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia — both of which are major wheat exporters — is expected to further increase food costs.
"This is a very serious problem if we don't get the farmers back in the fields," Beasley, noting that his organization buys 50% of all its grain from Ukraine.
The war has also caused a food crisis within Ukraine. The World Food Programme said it has provided aid to at least 1 million people inside the country, mostly with ready-to-eat food, bread and cash assistance. However, Beasley said it is hard to reach certain areas of Ukraine, like war-torn Mariupol and other areas besieged by Russian forces that are preventing his organization from getting the "access we need."
Along the U.S. southern border, the Biden administration is facing ain the midst of its plans to drop the pandemic-era rules. However, Pimentel said she is "not focused" on the border policy and is more concerned about ensuring that families at the border she sees daily have "access to protection and humane treatment."
Pimentel and her organization are focused on helping nongovernmental organizations provide assistance to migrants and asylum seekers. This assistance can come in the form of food, water, tents, hygiene items, medical care, education, or legal representation, depending on the individual's situation.
When asked if she wants to renew her call for a trip to the southern border from President Biden, Pimentel said she would "definitely" welcome a visit so the president could "more closely" observe what a family suffering at the border has been through.
If you want to help
The World Food Programme, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and Feeding America are among many charitable organizations looking to help those suffering from food insecurity. Experts recommend that before donating to those or other groups, you should do some research. There are independent organizations that rate charities on their effectiveness, including Charity Navigator and Guidestar.
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