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First grain shipment from Ukraine arrives in Africa since start of Russian invasion

The first grain shipment from Ukraine to Africa since Russia’s invasion began more than six months ago has docked in Djibouti, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed Tuesday.

“We have officially docked! The first @WFP ship to carry Ukrainian grain since February has just arrived in #Djibouti. Now, let’s get this wheat offloaded and on to #Ethiopia,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley tweeted Tuesday.

After 14 days at sea, the shipment of 23,000 metric tons of wheat arrived on the MV Brave Commander in the Horn of Africa, and will be used to support the WFP’s humanitarian response in the region, where over 20 million people face hunger.

The WFP says people across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia face severe hunger as the Horn of Africa experiences some of the driest conditions its seen in decades. The drought is the worst in 40 years for Ethiopia, according to the UN.

Some context: Since the first days of the war, Ukraine’s southern ports had been blocked by Russia, stopping Ukrainian grain from traveling to the many countries that rely on it. A UN-brokered agreement struck on July 23 promised to unblock ports on the Black Sea to allow the safe passage of grain and oilseeds, following routes identified by Ukrainian maritime pilots to avoid mines, and with stops in Istanbul to ensure weapons are not being smuggled back into the country.

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