The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. More and more people are being made destitute as fighting continues. The World Food Programme (WFP) is struggling to meet the urgent food needs of close to six million displaced people in Syria and in neighbouring countries. Food operations are severely underfunded, meaning that WFP has been forced to reduce the level of assistance it provides to refugees across the region.
A joint WFP/FAO mission (published July 2015) found that Syria’s food production has increased this year – mainly due to good rains – but it remains way below pre-crisis levels.
Household food security levels are not expected to improve. The ongoing crisis continues to push more people into hunger and poverty. Syria’s food security situation has not, and will not, improve without a political solution to the conflict.
WFP has three main goals under its Syria response
1) deliver food to people affected by conflict, malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers
2) provide emergency food assistance, and
3) offer tailored programmes focusing on relief and recovery, school feeding and nutrition.
WFP reaches more than four million people every month inside Syria with urgently needed food and provides electronic food vouchers (e-card) to 1.5 million refugees in neighbouring countries.
WFP knows that host countries are affected by the burden of the refugee crisis. WFP assistance to Syrian refugees, thanks to the e-card system has contributed more than US$1 billion into the local economies of the countries neighbouring Syria and has created thousands of local jobs.
To date, efforts to identify the most vulnerable have allowed WFP to reduce the number of people it assists by nearly 500,000, allowing limited resources to be focused on those most in need. WFP assessments show that the longer the crisis drags on, the more vulnerable refugees become.
General food distribution
Every month, WFP distributes family food rations to displaced and conflict-affected families across the country. These rations contain staple food items including rice, bulgur wheat, pasta, lentils, canned food, sugar, salt, cooking oil and wheat flour. Around four million people benefit from this assistance every month.
Relief and recovery
As the conflict drags on, WFP is working with key partners to build resilience in relatively stable areas. Food assistance for some displaced families will be provided as an incentive to work on rehabilitating infrastructure, backyard kitchen gardening or poultry production with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
In 2014, WFP launched a school feeding programme in Syria in partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education. WFP is supporting 164,000 children through this programme in schools in Tartous, Rural Damascus, Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. Children receive date bars fortified with vitamins and minerals to encourage them to enroll and stay in school.
WFP’s nutrition programme for pregnant women and nursing mothers helps 5,000 mothers in Homs and Lattakia to buy fresh produce, dairy and meat products to supplement their diets using WFP food vouchers. WFP plans to expand this programme to other governorates, reaching 15,000 mothers this year.
How you can helpWFP requires US$465 million (US$255 million in the region and US$210 million for Syria) to continue to provide assistance to Syrians in need through January 2016.
- Please donate today and help get life-saving food reach families who need us the most.
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