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Uber Technology Helps UN Deliver Food Aid in Ukraine


This photo, provided by the World Food Program, shows food being distributed to people in Kharkiv during the conflict in Ukraine. (Image Credit: WFP/Paul Anthem)
Uber Technology Helps UN Deliver Food Aid in Ukraine
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Ride-sharing company Uber has developed and donated a version of its software to help the United Nations deliver food in Ukraine.

The system is designed to assist the World Food Program (WFP) in an effort to provide emergency aid to citizens affected by Russia’s military campaign.

Uber’s software technology is designed to coordinate and follow the delivery of people and food in real-time. The ride-share service operates in major cities around the world.

The software version Uber developed for the WFP will permit the U.N. organization to deliver food aid in smaller vehicles in highly populated areas in Ukraine. It has been difficult for some of the WFP’s larger vehicles to safely make deliveries in Ukrainian cities.

The U.N. said the system will help WFP workers better coordinate requests for transporting food aid from U.N. storage centers. It will also permit the WFP to fully track the path of smaller vehicles and confirm that deliveries were made.

This photo shows food aid being loaded into a van to be delivered to people in need in Ukraine. Ride-sharing company Uber developed and donated a version of its software to help the United Nations' World Food Program deliver food in cities in Ukraine. (Uber)
This photo shows food aid being loaded into a van to be delivered to people in need in Ukraine. Ride-sharing company Uber developed and donated a version of its software to help the United Nations' World Food Program deliver food in cities in Ukraine. (Uber)

In addition to food, the WFP also provides money to victims in need.

“If you’re a Ukrainian living in a hard-to-reach part of a city under fire, the chances of the U.N. being able to get lifesaving aid to you and your family are improving,” the U.N. said in a recent statement.

The effort has already resulted in aid deliveries in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the statement added.

The U.N. noted that the WFP’s storage center, or warehouse, sits in an area not far from where Ukrainian forces have been battling Russian troops. The new system made it possible for smaller vehicles to successfully deliver food to other parts of Dnipro, the statement added.

Deliveries using the software have also been carried out in other parts of the country, the U.N. said. These include the cities of Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Chernivtsi.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February launched an ongoing conflict that has left thousands dead and forced millions to flee their homes. Large areas across the country have suffered severe destruction.

Matthew Hollingworth is the WFP’s Emergency Coordinator in Ukraine. He said Uber’s technology has improved the organization’s ability to help get aid “to those most affected by the war in Ukraine.”

Dara Khosrowshahi is Uber’s chief executive. He said the company was pleased to offer the specially-developed software to the WFP for free.

He said the system is supporting a network of cars and small vans that can make deliveries to “points within a 100-kilometer radius of WFP warehouses across the country."

The WFP statement said it has been quickly increasing its operations in and around Ukraine over the past three months. It said that by the end of June, the organization aims to be providing food and money to more than 3 million people per month across the country.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Uber and the UN World Food Program.

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Words in This Story

deliver – v. to transport things from one place to another

coordinate – v. to organize all the different parts of an activity

track – v. to record the progress or development of something

van – n. a vehicle used for carrying things, but that is smaller than a truck

radius – n. a certain distance from a particular point in any direction

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