Surging violence in Syria may impede aid deliveries – UN food agency

In Zaatari refugee camp, WFP’s partner Save the Children provides transportation to help Syrian refugees carry their food rations to their tents or caravans. Photo: WFP/Dina Elkassaby

30 July 2013 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) cautioned today that it may have difficulty reaching its goal to aid 3 million people inside Syria this month due to the surge in violence in Damascus and Homs, as well as the proliferation of checkpoints that are affecting its deliveries.

“More areas were becoming inaccessible due to increased fighting,” WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva, adding that the agency is also having difficulty reaching parts of Al Hasakeh in the northeast.

Since fighting began in March 2011 between the Syrian Government and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad as many as 100,000 people have been killed, almost 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries and a further 4 million have been internally displaced.

As of yesterday, WFP had dispatched food for 2.4 million people, short of the July goal.

Ms. Byrs said WFP was “extremely concerned about the developing situation in Homs,” where it is believed that several thousand people are trapped in some parts of the old city.

The situation in the Homs district of Waa’er, where almost 300,000 internally displaced people had taken refuge, was still tense she said, but WFP had managed to dispatch and distribute the July monthly allocation of food rations through partners.

Meanwhile, there are still 400,000 people at risk of food shortages in Idlib, and 1.2 million hard to reach persons in Rural Damascus.

Difficulties were also being reported by non-governmental organization (NGO) partners in both transport and speed of distribution in certain locations. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent for example, had called for additional supplies for 28,000 people in Aleppo, including ready to eat rations, high energy biscuits and flour.

WFP is currently monitoring the situation and potential population displacement to meet their immediate basic needs, but resources are running low. Ms. Byrs said WFP needs $763 million to assist seven million Syrians until the end of the year.


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