The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today that lack of timely funding has forced a 20 percent reduction in food rations for Syrians. WFP is trying to feed 4.25 million people inside the war-torn country.
WFP depends entirely on voluntary contributions from governments and the public. Donations are simply not keeping pace with the massive demand caused by the war. Around US $ 2 billion is needed this year alone to feed Syrians.
WFP struggles daily to access Syrians trapped by the fighting. Some progress has been made recently with locally-negotiated ceasefires allowing access into Rural Damascus and other areas. There are towns now receiving aid after months or even years of little or no support. However, the fighting does continue and other roads are now blocked off preventing aid from arriving.
While WFP tries to deliver aid each day it has to ensure food stocks are available.
Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Coordinator, warns, “It would be tragic to secure more access in Syria but to then find ourselves in a situation where we do not have the required funds to assist hungry people who have long been under siege. We certainly hope that donors will step up their contributions and new ones will come forward.”
Not only is WFP trying to feed over 4 million inside Syria, but there are also 1.5 million refugees in other Middle Eastern countries needing rations.
Hadi says, “We are grateful to the generosity of our donors, whose contributions have enabled us to save lives, but our emergency operation is running hand-to-mouth and our funding has now reached dangerous levels."
UNICEF, the UN children's agency, is also facing a massive shortage of funding for Syrian relief. As peace talks continue to fail children and their families continue to suffer.