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UN World Food Program director meets Syrian war victims

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The UN World Food Program's (WFP) director, Ertharin Cousin, was in Syria today to meet victims of the brutal civil war. She also held talks with high-ranking government officials about gaining access to hungry Syrians trapped by the fighting.

Cousin visited a WFP food distribution center in Damascus. There she met displaced persons living under dire circumstances, including 32 members of an extended family sharing one apartment.

“The Syrian crisis is more than numbers. Every family that I spoke to shared a sad story of tragedy and loss. I am overwhelmingly moved by the resilience and the spirit of the Syrian people. It is essential that the international community continues to support the provision of basic humanitarian needs,” said Cousin.

WFP is trying to feed over 4 million people inside Syria, many who are trapped by the fighting. Gaining access to these areas requires extensive negotiations with the combatants.

WFP needs about US $35 million a week to fund the relief mission. In 2014 the cost of feeding Syria's war victims will be around 2 billion dollars. It is one of the largest hunger emergencies of this generation.

Cousin says, “The humanitarian situation in Syria is getting more difficult every day, as almost half the Syrian people are now food insecure." Special foods like Plumpy'Doz, which prevents deadly child malnutrition, are being distributed.

WFP depends entirely on voluntary donations. A relief fund has been set up at the WFP web site.

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