Friday, June 10, 2022

Wheat, War & Famine

The Guardian has published an informative story map which illustrates how the Russian invasion of Ukraine is disrupting the world's food supply and contributing to rising food prices across the world. In the Black Sea Blockade the newspaper uses a story map to illustrate and explain how the war in Ukraine is affecting the global supply of wheat and sunflower oil.

Russia and Ukraine provide around 30% of the world's exported wheat. Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea is causing major disruption, particularly to north Africa and the Middle East. Using a choropleth layer The Guardian visualizes Ukraine's major wheat growing regions and shows how they are being disrupted by Russia's military action in the south east of the country. 

Thanks to the Russian blockade of Black Sea ports wheat silos in Ukraine are still full from last year's wheat harvest. The Guardian shows how in normal times shipping routes are used to transport that wheat from the Black Sea to the Middle East and north Africa, two regions which are hugely reliant on wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Those shipping routes have now been blocked by Russian military action in the Black Sea.

The Guardian goes on to map those countries which are most at risk from food insecurity and rising food prices. This includes those countries in eastern Africa which are already suffering from extreme drought. For example in Sudan wheat prices are now 180% higher than last year. There is now a huge concern about how the combination of drought and food insecurity could combine to cause widespread famine in eastern Africa.

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