UN food agency says will slash Syria aid by about half

AFP , Tuesday 13 Jun 2023

The UN food agency said Tuesday it will slash aid to Syrians in need of basic food supplies by around half due to a lack of funding.

Food aid in Syria
The UN World Food Programme said Tuesday it will have to cut assistance to 2.5 million of the 5.5 million people who rely on the agency for their basic food needs in Syria due to an an unprecedented funding crisis. AFP

 

"An unprecedented funding crisis in Syria is forcing the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to cut assistance to 2.5 million of the 5.5 million people who rely on the agency for their basic food needs", the organisation said.

It said it took the decision "after exhausting all other options" and planned to stretch its "extremely limited" resources by prioritising "three million Syrians who are unable to make it from one week to the next without food assistance".

The WFP said that if it kept providing aid to 5.5 million people, it would "run out of food completely by October".

"Instead of scaling up or even keeping pace with increasing needs, we're facing the bleak scenario of taking assistance away from people, right when they need it the most," WFP representative in Syria Kenn Crossley said in the statement.

Syria's 12-year war broke out after President Bashar al-Assad's repression of peaceful anti-government demonstrations escalated into a deadly conflict that pulled in foreign powers and global jihadists.

The conflict has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions.

The country was hit hard by the devastating earthquake earlier this year, and is still emerging from the devastation of the Covid pandemic.

Even before the quake, 12.1 million people across the country were suffering from hunger, the WFP said.

"Further reductions in ration size are impossible. Our only solution is to reduce the number of recipients," Crossley added.

"An average monthly income covers only around one-quarter of a family's food needs", the WFP said.

The announcement comes as the EU prepares to host the seventh Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region" on Wednesday.

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