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16 April 2013

After more than two years of conflict and more than 70,000 deaths, including thousands of children. ... After more than five million people have been forced to leave their homes, including over a million refugees living in severely stressed neighboring countries ... After so many families torn apart and communities razed, schools and hospitals wrecked and water systems ruined ... After all this, there still seems to be an insufficient sense of urgency among the governments and parties that could put a stop to the cruelty and carnage in Syria.


15 April 2013

We, leaders of U.N. agencies charged with dealing with the human costs of this tragedy, appeal to political leaders involved to meet their responsibility to the people of Syria and to the future of the region. We ask that they use their collective influence to insist on a political solution to this horrendous crisis before hundreds of thousands more people lose their homes and lives and futures — in a region already at the tipping point. Our agencies and humanitarian partners have been doing all we can.


15 April 2013

The internationally acclaimed British singer and composer Sami Yusuf visited Zaatari camp in Jordan where he saw at first hand the plight of refugees who fled the conflict in Syria. (..) Yusuf also stopped at WFP's distribution centres inside the camp where he met refugee men and women collecting their food rations. (..) This month, WFP is planning to feed up to 380,000 refugees living with host communities and in the camps through food vouchers and in-kind food assistance. WFP is short of $20m needed to continue its operations in Jordan and expand as more refugees arrive every day. As a celebrity partner for the World Food Programme, Yusuf has been promoting the fight against hunger around the world through his music and voicing the needs of millions of vulnerable people worldwide.


15 April 2013

The United Nations food relief agency today said it urgently needs $81 million to assist 2.5 hungry people inside Syria and one million refugees in neighbouring countries until June, and warned that without funding it would have to stop many of its current aid programmes. “Lack of funding would mean that WFP could resort to decreasing the number of people it currently supports and would halt plans to expand and increase the number of people it plans to feed, depriving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in need of urgently needed food assistance,” the spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP) Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva. “With very limited alternatives to support themselves, this means refugees will face destitution or could resort to buying on credit adding a burden on their host communities,” she added.


11 April 2013

Jordan opened a second camp for Syrian refugees on Wednesday after the United Nations said the number seeking shelter in the kingdom is expected to triple by the end of the year. (..) The 13,000-acre (5,200-hectare) camp, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Amman, has 750 caravans, a hospital and a school and can take up to 5,500 people.


8 April 2013

Muhannad Hadi, the UN World Food Program's emergency co-ordinator in Syria, was in Ottawa on Friday to update officials on a crisis he says has no end in sight. Hadi said the ranks of Syria's one million refugees, currently in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, could reach three million by the end of the year. (..) "If we don't deliver food, people have no options. It's over." Hadi said. "Mothers will see their children go to bed hungry. That's it."


3 April 2013

In September 2010, Valerie Amos took up her post at the helm of the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. (..) Ms. Amos recently sat down with the UN News Centre following a visit to Turkey, where she visited with some of the more than 1 million refugees who have fled the ongoing conflict in Syria and are residing in neighbouring countries. (..) Some countries have to go through parliaments. Other countries are making decisions about exactly where they want that money to go. But in the meantime, the World Food Programme – trying to deliver food stocks; UNHCR – trying to help refugees; UNICEF – trying to help children; UNRWA – the urgent work that they are doing with the Palestinian refugees; they’re all running out of money, said Amos.


3 April 2013

While for many months several Aleppo districts have been deprived of electricity and, on some days, water, whole families have been forced by the conflict to rely on charity for food. (..) On the other side of the road, store shelves overflow with fruit and honey-filled cakes. Although there is no shortage of food, there are very few people with the money to buy it. The UN World Food Programme says "humanitarian needs are growing in Syria, with serious bread and fuel shortages across the country. In some areas, the prices of most essential items have risen by 200 percent, and the Syrian pound has been devalued by around 80 percent," the WFP added.


28 March 2013

Even though the hunger situation in West Africa’s Sahel region has eased due to a good rainy season last year, there are still challenges, including access to people who fled their homes due to fighting in Mali, Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), tells AlertNet in an interview. Cousin says the international community needs to focus on slow-burning emergencies like the Sahel as well and continue to invest in sustainable solutions to deal with food shortages to avoid future crises.


26 March 2013

Spool forward less than a year and now it is the World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN agencies working here – or rather not being able to work here any more. This time we were just north of Damascus and plans to move on with touring food distribution centres came to an abrupt halt when fighting broke out on the road between our location and the capital a few miles distant. “It’s just getting worse and worse, ” Kate Newton, WFP’s deputy here told, me as we waited at the roadside. “There is just more fighting in more areas and it is getting increasingly difficult for us to move around.”