Life-saving food aid is not reaching hungry Syrians because of the escalating conflict between Assad’s government and rebels. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today that “the situation is critical in conflict zones and some opposition-held areas where WFP has limited access and where millions of people are believed to be in acute need of food.”
WFP is urging the warring parties to allow food aid to pass safely into conflict zones. The hardest-to-reach areas include parts of rural Damascus, Quneitra, Dara’a, Deir Ezzor, Al-Raqqa, and the north of the country, particularly Aleppo and Idlib.
Muhannad Hadi, WFP’s Regional Emergency Coordinator for the Syria crisis, says, “It has become a struggle now to move food from one area to the other with our warehouses and trucks getting increasingly caught in the crossfire. We are sometimes left with the difficult decision of calling off the dispatch of food to a place where we know there is dire need for it.”
WFP lost some food when a mortar struck one of its warehouses. The UN food agency is trying to feed 2.5 million Syrians this month inside the battered country.
Funding problems as well as violence plague the relief mission. WFP relies on voluntary funding from governments and the public. Funds are needed to feed not only the at least 2.5 million Syrians inside the country, but also the close to a million refugees who have fled to Jordan and other neighbors.
WFP has already started to bring Plumpy’Doz, a food that fights child malnutrition, into Syria. As the conflict continues, more and more Syrian children will be at risk of lasting physical and mental damage, or even death, from the malnutrition in the country.
WFP has set up a relief fund for Syria.