GENEVA/ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is reinstating food assistance to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries thanks to a massive expression of support from the public, the private sector and donor countries.
By mid-December, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt will have their electronic food vouchers – also known as e-cards – uploaded with an average amount of US$30 per family member so that they can immediately use them to buy food from local shops.
After suspending food aid to nearly 1.7 million Syrian refugees on 1 December, WFP launched an ambitious social media fundraising campaign using the hashtag #ADollarALifeline that raised millions from individuals, the private sector and governments.
Among individuals contributing online through wfp.org, the third largest number by nationality were Syrians, after Americans (first) and Canadians (second). The online campaign featured Aloe Blacc’s song “I Need A Dollar” as the soundtrack for the #ADollarALifeline video which launched on social media channels. Almost 14,000 individuals and private sector donors in 158 countries contributed US$1.8 million dollars.
As a result of the campaign, WFP has to date raised more than US$80 million – including contributions from governments – surpassing the goal to raise US$64million in December and permitting the full value of the e-cards to be distributed to refugees this month, with some funds carrying through to January.
“This outpouring of support in such a short time is unprecedented,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “We’re especially grateful to the many individual members of the public who reached into their own pockets to send whatever they could to help Syrian refugees who have lost everything. They showed that even as little as a dollar can make a difference.”
WFP’s donation page is still up and running on http://www.wfp.org/ForSyrianRefugees and the public can continue to contribute to WFP’s life-saving assistance for displaced Syrians.
Contributions from donor governments will be announced soon.
Many UN agencies joined forces with WFP to promote the social media campaign. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, among other agencies, dedicated their social media channels to help raise funds and to bring awareness to the serious impact that suspension of food assistance would have on the lives of 1.7 million Syrian refugees.
Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, WFP has succeeded, despite fighting and problems of access, in meeting the food needs of millions of displaced people inside Syria and up to 1.7 million refugees in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
Broadcast-quality video of refugees from Syria and WFP’s food assistance, including a shotlist, can be downloaded at the following link: https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRRT2pEayt0TWw3czlVag
For more information on WFP videos please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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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. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 473 4570
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +20 1066634352. Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington DC, Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993