Eastern Ghouta (Kafr Batna, Arbin, Duma, Al-Nashabiyeh and Harasta sub districts) is a besieged area located in the eastern part of Rural Damascus Governorate. The area is one of the key agricultural zones surrounding Damascus city. It has been besieged by the military and under daily shelling/airstrikes for over five years. A limited number of civilians and traders have been able to use the check points for trading of goods, but the siege intensified in July 2017 with a total block of food trade on most of its supply routes. Recently, in September, the crossing of al-Wafideen camp, the only remaining semi-active supply route into East Ghouta from neighbouring areas, was totally closed. The 400,000 residents in Eastern Ghouta are now forced to depend solely on their alarmingly depleted stocks of food and on very limited own food production.
The last time humanitarian food aid was allowed to reach Kafr Batna was back in June 2016 when Inter Agency Convoys (IACs) entered with limited supplies. Since July 2017, food supplies have been significantly disrupted and smuggling routes have been closed. WFP’s monthly market price monitoring shows that compared to September 2017, food prices have increased sharply. This in addition to the severe shortage of food makes it impossible for highly vulnerable families, especially female-headed households, to meet their minimum daily food needs. The rapidly approaching lean season is also expected to seriously impact the food security situation especially for those households that are already struggling to meet their daily food requirements.