The WFP [World Food Program] typically feeds around 125 million people
on any given day, week or month. But the new conflict in Ukraine has
already caused the organization to cut rations in [many needy] regions.
Currently, the WFP is spending over $71 million more a month due
to rising food and fuel prices around the world. “When we don’t
have enough money, well, guess what? We have to choose
which children eat and which children don’t eat.
~ UN World Food Program Executive Director
David Beasley on Face The Nation
April 15, 2022
Last week I watched an interview with David Beasley. It definitely wasn’t a feel-good interview but I really appreciated it nonetheless. It was edifying. It gave me a better understanding of food insecurity in the world. And, while he was interviewed in Ukraine, his focus is clearly global interdependence. What follows are highlights of what he said. My additions are in purple.
1. He emphasized that people don’t want to leave home. However, if they have no food, their choices are to leave, create unrest, or starve. Having only those choices leads to the potential destabilization of nations.
2. Putin is using starvation as a weapon. Fields, food depots, and other places with food – and nothing else (like weapons) – are being blown up. Beasley’s angst was palpable. He spoke of how the WFP knows how to manage the logistics but that their biggest problem is lack of access to the people in Ukraine who need the food.
3. Food prices have gone up 34% since last year according to the UN. He points out that in some places, prices have gone up 100% – 200%.
Places like Lebanon. For context, Lebanon is the size of Connecticut with double the population. Connecticut has 3.5 million people and Lebanon has almost 7 million. Of that 7 million, 1.8 million are refugees or immigrants. Of that 1.8 million, 700,000 are Syrian children. So 1 in 10 people living in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee child. Not to mention that Lebanon’s economy collapsed in 2019. According to the World Bank, the crisis in Lebanon is among the three worst crises in the world.
Beasley worries that they may encounter food availability issues because of increases in the price of food, fuel, and shipping,
4. The Ukraine crisis is devastating the bread basket of the world. Ukraine has fed 400 million people around the world. But that won’t be happening this year if the farmers cannot plant and harvest their fields and if the ports are not opened up.
5. Returning to how people don’t want to leave home, he talks about the costs that occur when they do. He gives the example of Guatemala and says that it costs $7 – $14 per week to support someone in Guatemala. However, it costs $3750 per week to feed that same person at the US border. A second example is that it costs $3.50 per week to support someone in Syria and $490 to support that same person in Berlin.
6. Asked what we can do, Beasley’s first recommendation is that we need to pray. He follows that with send money and be mindful of the food we waste.
I agree with all of these recommendations but especially the first one. Pray. Praying along with meditating, contemplating, and being mindful, have many things in common. They bring us into the present. They restore hope where there is or has been despair. They reinitiate our gratitude. They connect us to each other and to our home, Mother Earth. They make life worth living even in challenging times. They offer us a way to lift the vibration of whatever is happening in the world as a counterbalance to negative energies individually, communally, and globally. They provide healing at a most fundamental level.
It’s easy to underestimate such subtle acts as prayer. That’s our mental ego getting in the way. Instead, remember what you know deep within: that everything in the universe is vibration. And quality of vibration matters – a lot. While it may seem like there is little, as individuals, that we can do regarding a crisis like Ukraine (especially if we cannot travel there to offer physical service), there is much we can do. We can render conscious service of the heart at each and every moment. Vibrations can be physical hell on earth via death and destruction. Vibrations can also be acts of kindness, care, and compassion that may include but also go beyond the physical world. Prayer.
Photo by Barbara
A CARE food truck headed to a refugee camp in Somalia.