WFP has been operating in Syria since 1964, and has since provided more than US$500 million worth of food assistance in the country through development and emergency operations.
The World Food Programme is reaching about 1.5 million people a month in Syria with vital food assistance and is helping the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled into neighbouring countries. Working with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), WFP is distributing food even in even hard hit areas subject to fighting.
As needs are growing, with serious bread and fuel shortages across the country, WFP is working on ways to scale up to reach more people. As the UN lead logistics agency, WFP also provides handling services and transportation for goods other than food including blankets, medical supplies, clothes and cooking utensils on behalf of other humanitarian and UN agencies.
WFP is providing ready-to-eat food to about 125,000 Palestinians and Syrians affected by violence in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. The three-month programme began on 22 December 2012 and consists of 12 kg of food per family each week – including canned goods and bread. To date, almost 5,000 families, around 25,000 people, have received WFP’s ready-to-eat food packages.
Food security and drought-affected areas
Since 2006, Syria was hit by four consecutive years of drought resulting in crop failure, compounded by encroaching desertification and rising food and fuel prices. The 2007-2008 drought was the worst in 40 years and families were unable to recover because of subsequent partial crop failures. In 2009, WFP launched an emergency response to the drought assisting a total of 300,000 smallholder farmers and herders in Northeast Syria.
Assistance to Iraqi Refugees in Syria
Since the onset of the conflict in Iraq in 2003, Syria has hosted the largest Iraqi refugee population in the region. From 2007 until 2012, WFP provided food assistance to the vulnerable among them. During that period WFP started in 2010 an Electronic Voucher System (EVS) which proved to be an effective and efficient model to distribute food to refugees living in an urban context.
Food For Education
In 2010, WFP launched a food-for-education development project. It aimed to encourage children and illiterate women living in rural areas to attend schools or literacy classes in return for food assistance. During 2010-2011, WFP reached more than 50,000 people (45,750 children and 5,000 women).