ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) delivered food by air today for hungry people trapped in the besieged eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor.
A total of 20 metric tons of urgently needed food supplies – mainly beans, chickpeas and rice, and enough to feed 2,500 people for one month – were dropped from high altitude by a WFP-chartered aircraft on Deir Ezzor.
Out of 26 pallets loaded with food contained in platforms attached to high altitude parachutes – 22 pallets were collected by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), WFP’s partner in the city. WFP is working to find out what happened to the four other pallets.
Over 200,000 people have been living under siege in Deir Ezzor since March 2014 in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Critical food shortages have been reported. The airdrop was the first time WFP food assistance has reached besieged parts of the city since March 2014.
WFP is working closely with partners on the ground organizing food distributions, which should take place immediately after every drop. More airdrops are planned for the coming days to meet food and other humanitarian needs for the besieged population.
The aircraft flew from Amman, Jordan airport in Jordan. Airdrops are always a last resort, as land access is easier and the most cost-effective way of delivering food.
On 24 February, WFP carried out its first high-altitude airdrop ever, dropping 21 tons of food assistance on Deir Ezzor. But technical problems meant some of the pallets missed the drop zone and some were damaged as their parachutes failed to function properly.
Across Syria, WFP provides food to more than 4 million people every month and remains very concerned about the suffering of all Syrians living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
# # #
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries. Follow us on Twitter @WFP_Media @WFP_MENA
For more information please contact:
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 66634352
Dina El-Kassaby, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 15218882
Frances Kennedy, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 65133725, Mob. +39 346 7600806
Gerald Bourke, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob. +1-646 525 9982
Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington DC, Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993