AMMAN – The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, concluded a three-day visit to Lebanon and Jordan by visiting Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.
During her visit to the camp, Syrian women told Cousin about fleeing from their homes in Syria, taking cover at night, until they reached safety in Jordan. Many of the refugees travelled for two days with nothing to eat until they arrived at Zaatari camp.
“We recognize the difficult living conditions that Syrian refugees are facing away from home and we are committed to working together with our NGO partners and sister UN agencies to improve these conditions,” Cousin told journalists during a news conference in the camp.
WFP provides ready-to-eat food to Syrians arriving at the camp, and, once they have settled in, supplies them with dry food rations to cook in communal kitchens.
Elsewhere in Jordan, WFP provides food vouchers to Syrian refugees living with host communities. Vouchers are used when food is available in the market but people do not have enough money to buy it. As people spend in local shops, they boost the local economy.
“The humanitarian situation is evolving on a daily basis and we must ensure that we can continue to meet the food needs of those affected by the conflict,” said Cousin. “Together with our UN and NGO partners, we are strengthening our response capacity to address any escalation in need should the situation further deteriorate leading to more displacement from Syria.”
Earlier, Cousin met top Jordanian officials and expressed gratitude for the generosity of the Jordanian people and the Government of Jordan for welcoming displaced Syrians and extending support to people fleeing violence during difficult times.
Jordan was the second stop of a three-day visit to the region, the first for Cousin to the Middle East since she assumed the office of the Executive Director in April. Earlier in the week she visited Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, and met Lebanese officials.
WFP has launched a regional emergency operation to cover the food needs of Syrians who have fled to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. About 350,000 Syrians have registered, or are awaiting, registration with office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in neighbouring countries. Needs assessments in these countries showed that food was a top priority and WFP is scaling up to provide food assistance to as many as 460,000 people by the end of the year should the numbers increase.
For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600 Mob. +2 010 666 34352
Laure Chadraoui, WFP/Beirut-Amman, Mob. + 962795917987 and +9613489925
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Elizabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 473 4570
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1 202 4223383
Reem Nada, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2610, Mob. +2 010 666 34522