Syria: UN relief operation delivers food assistance to record number of people

Cooking oil shown at a WFP distribution centre in Syria. Photo: WFP/Dina Elkassaby

2 September 2014 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) dispatched food to a record-breaking 4.1 million people inside war-ravaged Syria in August, owing to improved access with increased cross-line operations within the country and more cross-border convoys.

“We are reaching more people every day with urgently needed food assistance – many of them have been going hungry for months,” Muhannad Hadi, WFP’s Regional Emergency Coordinator said in a statement from Amman, Jordan.

Over the last six weeks, WFP and partners crossed lines to reach more than 580,000 people, more than four times the 137,000 people reached in the preceding six weeks.

Since July 25, a total of five cross-border convoys, via the Bab Al Salam crossing from Turkey and Al Ramtha from Jordan, carried food rations including rice, lentils, oil, pasta, bulgur, canned food, wheat flour, beans, salt and sugar for 69,500 people in the hard-to-reach areas.

“We will build on these gains in the coming weeks and months and hope that all parties to the conflict will continue to facilitate our access to the women, children and families that remain out of our reach behind conflict lines,” Mr. Hadi added.

The deliveries come in the wake of the passage in mid-July of Security Council resolution 2165, which authorized the movement of UN humanitarian aid into Syria through four border crossings.

Briefing the Council last week, Kyung-wha Kang, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said progress in access during the past month has shown that “where there is political will, there is a way to improve the situation for millions of civilians in Syria.”

“We must all redouble our efforts until we reach everyone in need with humanitarian assistance,” she added.

Yet, widespread fighting and insecurity continues to hinder WFP’s access to many parts of the country, particularly in the northern governorates of Al-Hassakeh, Deir-ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqa.

WFP is by far the largest humanitarian agency operating inside Syria. Working with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and over two dozen other partners, it aims to support 4.25 million people in need of food assistance across all 14 governorates every month.

The agency needs to raise $35 million dollars a week to meet the food needs of families affected by the conflict in Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries.


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