New Audio for Media Use: Anna Nagurney, a Data Scientist with Ties to Ukraine, on Providing Humanitarian and Food Supply Chain Support to the Area


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

New Audio for Media Use: Anna Nagurney, a Data Scientist with Ties to Ukraine, on Providing Humanitarian and Food Supply Chain Support to the Area

BALTIMORE, MD, March 15, 2022 – New audio is available for media use featuring supply chain expert Anna Nagurney on providing support to Ukraine. She speaks about providing humanitarian and food supply chain support. Dr. Nagurney is Ukrainian-American. Ukrainian was her first language. This content is made available by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. All sound should be attributed to Anna Nagurney. She is the Eugene M. Isenberg Chair in Integrative Studies and is PhD Coordinator in Management Science as well as the Director, Virtual Center for Supernetworks Operations & Information Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. There are four questions and responses. These responses were provided on March 15, 2021:



Question 1: What are the biggest challenges Ukraine faces right now with regard to food supplies from both a quality of life and an export point of view?

Time Cue: 01:05, Soundbite Duration: 03:03 


Transcription: “Ukraine is known as the breadbasket of the world. It is renowned for its very rich soil. More than 300,000,000 people depend on food grown in Ukraine, many of them in developing countries.  30% of the world's wheat comes from Ukraine and Russia and 15% of the global corn comes from Ukraine. Ukraine is also a big exporter of barley and sunflower oil. Ukraine's revenue for grain exports in 2021 was $12.3 billion with $2.55 billion of the exports going to China. The main importers of Ukraine grain in 2021 were China, Egypt and Turkey.  Egypt, for example, bought 80% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia last year.  In 2020, Ukraine exported 2.9 billion worth of agricultural product to Africa. Lebanon and Yemen have also depended on Ukrainian grain and these countries are being ravaged by major economic challenges. With the war on Ukraine, there are deep concerns about the upcoming harvest and the planting of crops.  Not only are there blockages in the Black Sea but also major ports are shut down due to the attacks. Insurance and freight costs are rising. Plus, with many males now fighting for the freedom of Ukraine, labor shortages may be extremely severe. Exacerbating the challenges is the destroyed infrastructure which impacts transportation, assuming that one can even get the needed trucks.  There has been about $100 billion in estimated damages to infrastructure in Ukraine since the invasion began on February 24. Of course, Ukrainians are the ones at the epicenter now in terms of how to procure food for their families, even grown on their own land, because of the war. Should the war continue, in addition to the rising prices of many grains and related products, we foresee tsunamis of hunger, rising global food insecurity, which already has escalated in the COVID-19 pandemic and even, possibly, famine on several continents. Important to recognize, that this is not the first man-made orchestrated attack on the food supply in Ukraine. In 1929, the collectivization of farms by Stalin in Ukraine, and the subsequent seizure of food and even seeds from farmers, led to what has been called - The Holodomor, in which nearly 4 million Ukrainians died due to starvation in the early 1930s, and 1 million others in the Soviet Union.”


Question 2: What are the most significant current humanitarian challenges Ukraine faces?

Time Cue: 04:16, Soundbite Duration: 01:12 


Transcription: “Ukraine, as an innocent victim in this devastating, unprovoked war, is facing major humanitarian challenges of several forms. First, with the shelling and bombing of civilian targets, from apartment complexes to hospitals, there is great stress on individuals and families, along with suffering, injuries, plus loss of life. People are being displaced internally as they seek safety with infrastructure from roads to bridges being compromised or destroyed. With many of the males joining the military and territorial defense forces, families are being separated. There are places in Ukraine where the bombing has been relentless. This is leading to food, water, medicine, and electric power shortages.  Nearly 3 million refugees have fled this beautiful country, the most rapid movement of refugees since WWII.” 


Question 3: What is being done and should be done to alleviate the food insecurity issues in Ukraine? 

Time Cue: 05:36, Soundbite Duration: 01:17


Transcription: “Clearly, the war should be stopped! Every day that the war goes on, the costs to humanity, to democracy and the free world, plus the major economic repercussions and disruptions grow. There are Ukrainian NGOs with "boots on the ground" doing their very best to assist with the supply lines of critical products to Ukrainians, under extremely challenging conditions. Even humanitarian corridors have been targeted. I am aware of universities that have been raising funds for humanitarian relief with students working to help with the delivery of supplies, including medical kits. There are also international humanitarian organizations that have been in Ukraine for quite a few years, who are familiar with the landscape and the pressing needs of the population in different regions. In addition, greater assistance is clearly needed to support the countries that have been the destinations, to-date, for Ukrainian refugees.  Humanitarian corridors need to be made safe and secure for passage. Medical facilities should not be the targets of bombs and the same for civilians! Food warehouses have been targeted and destroyed, adding to the uncertainty and food insecurity. Financial donations to relief agencies for humanitarian aid, especially those that are recognized by the Ukrainian government, will help.”


Question 4: What is being done and should be done to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine right now?

Time Cue: 07:23, Soundbite Duration: 01:03


Transcription: “All means should be taken to stop this war, which is a vicious assault on humanity, democracy, and freedom-loving people everywhere. Governments and foundations need to add their support of refugees from Ukraine. Supply lines for critical needs products, including medicines, must be allowed to operate. Many Ukrainians who are fleeing the terror brought on by this war, want to go back to Ukraine once it is liberated. Ultimately, I foresee a type of Marshall Plan to reconstruct and rebuild Ukraine as it recovers. I do believe that, with the expertise in our great operations research and analytics profession, in terms of disaster management and humanitarian logistics, we can provide crucial assistance.”


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With more than 12,000 members from around the world, INFORMS is the largest association for the decision and data sciences, made up of professionals and students. INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results.



Ashley Smith