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UPDATE 1-Food aid vessel leaves Ukraine for Yemen, WFP says

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GENEVA, Aug 30 (Reuters) - The second shipment of humanitarian food aid since Russia's invasion left Ukraine for Yemen on Tuesday, the World Food Programme said in a statement.

The MV Karteria left from the Black Sea port of Yuzhny and will stop in Turkey for the grains to be milled into flour, the UN agency said.

Ukraine's grain exports have slumped since the start of the war in February because of port closures, driving up global food prices and increasing hunger in some of the poorest parts of the world.

A deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July helped unblock them, and so far around 1.5 million tonnes of agricultural goods have been exported through the Black Sea initiative, Ukraine says.

Still, with a record 345 million people in 82 countries facing acute food insecurity, only a fraction of the total exports have so far been humanitarian aid. The first shipment went to Ethiopia, via Djibouti.

Last year Yemen, where tens of thousands have been killed in conflict, received nearly half of its wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. Currently around 17 million people in Yemen are suffering from acute hunger and its humanitarian appeal for $4.27 billion is currently only 42% funded, UN data showed.

"It is paramount to get commodities flowing back into the country (Yemen) and especially grain – for humanitarian and commercial purposes," said WFP's country director for Yemen Richard Ragan. "This is vital to keep prices at bay." (Reporting by Emma Farge, Editing by Miranda Murray, Kirsten Donovan)

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