Food Crisis in Syria

Food Crisis in Syria
The Syrian Civil War has created a food crisis in Syria. According to the United Nations, nearly “four million Syrians, a fifth of the population, are unable to produce or buy enough food, and farmers are short of the seed and fertilizers they need to plant their crop.”

The food shortage in Syria is a result of “massive population displacement, disruption of agricultural production, unemployment, economic sanctions and high food and fuel prices.” Overall, Syria’s poultry production has decreased by 50 percent and its wheat production is down 40 percent. As a result, food prices have spiked dramatically, with the average monthly price of wheat flour more than doubling between May of 2011 and May of 2013.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has requested $41.7 million to assist 768,000 people in Syria. So far, the agency has only $3.3 million of the requested funds. The Food and Agriculture Organization is working to assist those who are internally displaced in Syria as well as providing aid to the 1.6 million Syrians who have sought refuge from the conflict in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

In addition to creating a food shortage throughout the nation, the Syrian Civil War has created problems in maintaining health standards for both humans and animals. Before the food crisis, “9.3 percent of children suffer[ed] from wasting and 23 percent of them stunted.” It is likely that these rates have increased since the onset of the food crisis. Additionally, child vaccination coverage has decreased from 95 percent in 2009 to 80 percent in 2012, creating concerns about the spread of diseases. Likewise, “there are practically no routine drugs or vaccines for animals and no vets to administer them,” creating the potential for diseases being transmitted among livestock and intensifying the food crisis.

Jordan Kline

Sources: The Guardian, Reuters