As President Obama delivered a speech on Syria Tuesday night, many parts of Damascus, Syria continue to be blocked off from food aid. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which is leading the hunger relief mission, cannot reach all Syrians in need.
WFP, in a report released Tuesday, says they have "been unable to access 39 locations in Damascus and Rural Damascus since mid-2012, locations which are believed to be in significant need, with basic items in scarce supply due to protracted sieges." The war has devastated food production and agriculture nationwide, and many Syrians are at risk of damaging malnutrition.
UN representatives continue to advocate for access to all areas, including numerous written requests to the Syrian government. A majority of these requests are said to be pending.
WFP did feed around 2.4 million Syrians last month despite the ongoing fighting. The UN food agency is planning to increase that number to four million in the coming months. WFP relies entirely on voluntary funding for all its missions.
The refugee crisis from the war has escalated, with two million Syrians having fled their war-torn homeland. WFP and other agencies are trying to provide aid in countries across the Middle East. Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq are also hosting Syrian war victims.
In Iraq, WFP is planning to feed Syrian refugee children the special food called Plumpy’Doz. This food is meant to prevent malnutrition and stunting, which are the silent threats that have escalated among Syrians since the war began. WFP has also been distributing the Plumpy'Doz inside Syria as well since earlier this year.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres says the Syria crisis is "a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history."