UNICEF said today that funding is a major issue for its Syrian relief effort. The agency's health and nutrition programs urgently require at least US $ 3.5 million dollars.
UNICEF is trying to save children in the war-torn country from deadly malnutrition. As the war has devastated food supply systems, children under the age of five face the highest risk. This is because in the first years of life malnutrition can cause irreversible mental and physical damage, and even death.
The special nutritional food Plumpy'Doz is being used by UNICEF in Syria to prevent this malnutrition. Susannah Masur of UNICEF USA said today that the agency had provided Plumpy'Doz to 9,750 children in the embattled cities of Lattakia and Tartous. She added that "UNICEF provided 166 boxes of Plumpy'doz and 28 boxes of high energy biscuits to Deir ez Zour city which houses a large number of displaced people."
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is also providing Plumpy'Doz to small children. Spokesperson Laure Chadraoui said they have enough Plumpy'Doz left in the country to feed 38,000 children. WFP, which is feeding three million inside Syria, requires around US $ 30 million a week to sustain the mission.
As the war continues to drag on malnutrition will only gain a greater strength in Syria. The international community will need to provide funding for UNICEF, WFP and other aid groups. Access to those in need is becoming increasingly difficult due to the conflict.
Meanwhile, the flow of refugees from Syria continues to escalate. WFP says it is mobilizing food in Iraq for 185,000 people for a month. The UN food agency is already feeding over one million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.