United Nations ship approached Ukraine on Friday to pick up wheat for hungry people in Ethiopia, in the first food delivery to Africa.

European Council President Charles Michel announced that the first shipment by the U.N’s World Food Program of humanitarian aid for Africa would soon load and then depart. In the afternoon, MarineTraffic, a tracking website, showed the ship headed toward southern Ukraine.

Ethiopia, along with neighbouring Somalia and Kenya, is in the grips of the driest drought in four decades in the Horn of Africa. Thousands of people across the region have died from hunger or illness this year.

To alleviate food shortages and hunger around the world, the Commander was expected to carry take more than 23,000 metric tons, according to Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry only a tiny portion of some 20 million tons of grain has languished in Ukraine. The ship was expected to dock in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.

According to a new assessment by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, food assistance needs are at record levels, with up to 15 million people in need of food assistance.

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