One million Syrians go hungry

By Efrosini Costa

One million Syrians go hungry
More than one million Syrians will go without food this week as the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) struggles to reach all those in need.

Escalating violence in the area, a lack of fuel, and an inability to access the key port of Tartus, has meant that food aid will not reach close to half of the 2.5 million Syrians who have been internally displaced due to ongoing conflict in their country.

After nearly two years of continuous violence and civil war, and as the situation on the ground worsens, it has become “increasingly difficult to reach the hardest-hit places” Elisabeth Brys, a WFP spokesperson for the UN, said of the growing food needs in Syria.

Up until now, the WFP, with the help of local non-government organisations including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, has been able to distribute food to communities in need.

But these efforts were coming under increasing attack from the violence between the Syrian government and armed rebels, a situation that has caused the WFP to temporarily withdraw its staff from offices in cities across the war-ravaged country, including Homs, Aleppo, Qamishli and Tartous.

Onerous queues for bread have become the norm in the Middle-Eastern country, where fighting and mounting danger have seen an increase in ambushing and looting of aid trucks since the end of last year.

As the country runs out of much needed wheat staples, bakeries have been forced to shut down, with some rumoured to have been taken over by government forces in an attempt to starve areas with rebel strongholds.

Skyrocketing food prices caused by a steady loss in value of the Syrian Pound and sanctions on imported goods set by the Arab League, mean the once food self sufficient country’s food security is now at stake.

A high population growth will also see the nation’s water supply stretched to its limits; the country’s agricultural minister has been quick to add.

 

Meanwhile, the number of Syrian refugees attempting to flee the violence has increased dramatically – by up to 100,000 over the last month – with this number expected to grow.

The UN claims that there are currently 597,240 registered refugees and individuals awaiting registration of their refugee status in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Turkey.

They estimate that close to four million Syrians will be in need of humanitarian aid because of the ongoing 22-month conflict.

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