UN food relief agency ramps up operations in Syria, preparing to feed 3 million people

WFP’s Deputy Executive Director Amir Abdulla (left) visits a logistics and packaging facility of the agency on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria. Photo: WFP/Photolibrary

30 May 2013 – The deputy head of the United Nations food relief programme today wrapped up his visit to Syria where the agency and its main partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, are scaling up operations to feed three million people in July.

“This is an agonizing time for Syrians, with millions of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance,” said UN World Food Programme (WFP) Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Amir Abdulla said in Damascus.

“In spite of significant logistical and security challenges, especially in conflict zones, WFP is doing all it can to reach these vulnerable people,” he added. The agency currently feeds 2.5 million people inside Syria and more than one million refugees in neighbouring countries.

During his two-day visit, Mr. Abdulla spoke with Syrians receiving their monthly WFP food basket at a Syrian Arab Red Crescent food distribution point in Al-Kisweh, 15 kilometres south of the capital.

He also visited a WFP logistics and packaging facility in Adliyeh outside of Damascus where food items, including rice, bulgur wheat, lentils, sugar, vegetable oil and salt, are packaged.

During the visit, Mr. Abdulla also met with Syrian authorities and partners to discuss access to families in the coming months.

Parts of the country have been temporarily inaccessible by fighting between the Syrian Government and opposition forces seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad. Since March 2011, more than 70,000 people have been killed and 6.8 million left in need. In addition, the UN estimates that some 1.5 million Syrians have fled their country to escape conflict.


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