Stories and Viewpoints
By: Lara Ramsburg, Head of Corporate Affairs, Viatris
August 18, 2022
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has had far reaching impacts, including worsening a global food emergency affecting communities around the world. As a global healthcare company driven by our mission of empowering people to live healthier at every stage of life, we recognize the significant implications of this crisis and the need to respond both locally and globally.
That is why we are pledging our support to this effort, starting with a donation of $250,000 to an organization that has literally been on the frontlines in Ukraine from the beginning. World Central Kitchen, founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, is a non-profit organization that provides fresh meals in response to crises while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions. The group is often first on the scene, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises and has served more than 200 million fresh meals to people around the world. Most recently, they have worked in Ukraine and seven neighboring countries to provide meals and food kits to those suffering from interrupted supply of food and displaced from their homes. Ukraine used to be home to approximately 44 million people. To date, around 12 million residents have fled the war, and many millions are internally displaced. Access to food for many of those still in Ukraine and those who have left the country remains at risk.
We are honored to support WCK as part of our ongoing commitment to improving health worldwide.
However, Ukraine is but one example of where this crisis is occurring and where we will be focusing additional donation efforts. With Ukraine and Russia being significant providers of wheat, corn, rapeseed (used to make canola oil), sunflower seeds and sunflower oil to the rest of the world, especially for people living in low-income countries, the war has exacerbated the hunger crisis around the world. Access to food is a basic human right and a cornerstone of human health. Yet due to the combination of conflicts around the world, the pandemic, the climate crisis and rising costs of food and fuel, 828 million people go to bed hungry every night, according to the UN World Food Program.
Our priorities at Viatris during the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine have been the immediate safety and protection of our colleagues and their families and providing support wherever possible, including shelter, financial aid, resources, tools and other assistance. You can read more here about how our colleagues have been supporting each other in the region. However, as the war and human suffering continues, and the effects are felt not only by those directly impacted by the war but also far away, we want to continue to help. It is clear the current global food crisis is one battle that it will take all of us working together around the world to win.