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WFP Prioritizes Most Needy Syrian Refugees For Food Assistance In Iraq

ERBIL – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced this week that following a comprehensive assessment of the food security and vulnerability status of Syrian refugees living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, it will focus its resources on the most vulnerable people.

“Our assessments have shown that while some families have the resources to meet their food needs, there are many Syrian families in the Kurdistan region who still need continued assistance,” said Matteo Perrone, WFP Emergency Coordinator for the Syrian refugees operation in Iraq. “Our effort is to focus on meeting the food needs of the most vulnerable refugees.”

The decisions being taken on the prioritization of food assistance are based on comprehensive interagency food security and vulnerability assessment, to measure the general food security status of refugees living in camps and their ability to cope. Factors taken into account include access to livelihood opportunities, food consumption, household expenditure, coping strategies and other socio-economic considerations.

In August, WFP will channel all available resources to over 48,000 refugees who still require support to meet their food needs. WFP will reduce the monthly voucher value to US$10 per person per month for over 47,000 moderately vulnerable refugees, while nearly 1,000 refugees considered the most vulnerable will continue to receive US$19 per person per month to meet their food needs.

Some 50,000 previously assisted Syrian refugees will no longer receive WFP food assistance. These people have been advised of the decision by SMS messages and other means.

The assessment found that food insecurity was not a major problem faced by refugees in camps, due to the fact that Iraq is the only country in the region where refugees can hold work permits, allowing them to earn money to meet their families’ food needs. The assessments found that 85 percent of Syrian refugees in Iraq have an external source of income.

Efforts will be made to make sure nobody falls through the cracks. “Through our regular post-distribution monitoring, WFP will keep a close eye on the food security situation for all refugees to ensure than families affected by these cuts are not impacted negatively,” Perrone added.

WFP’s food voucher programme for Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries is the largest in the world, and is funded entirely by voluntary contributions. Nearly 1.6 million Syrian refugees, spread across five countries in the region, are assisted through WFP food vouchers every month.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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For more information please contact:
Marwa Awad, WFP/Baghdad, Tel. +964 780 915 0764
Dina El-Kassaby, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2010 15218882