The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that there are four million Syrians who do not have access to adequate food due to the ongoing conflict. As the number of Syrian refugees reaches two million, the UN World Food Programme has appealed for humanitarian access inside Syria. The UN food agency was only able to distribute food for 2.4 million people. This fell short of its goal of feeding three million people a month, due to the deteriorating security situation.
Many areas in Syria are becoming inaccessible because of worsening violence and the increase of checkpoints around major cities, affecting the speed of food dispatches. WFP airlifted 1,000 family food rations on two separate flights during the month of August from its warehouses in Damascus to Qamishly in northeast Syria, because of growing insecurity and road closures. Syrian food security has deteriorated rapidly over the past year and agricultural production is predicted to decline over the next 12 months if the conflict continues.
Assistance is prioritized to internally displaced families and the most vulnerable Syrians. Two million refugees are awaiting registration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. WFP teams are using food vouchers in an effort to meet the dietary needs of Syrians in these countries. The vouchers can be redeemed against a list of provisions, such as when food is available in the market but people do not have the resources to buy it.
Bread is particularly low in supply. Special foods, such as Plumpy’Doz, have been brought into Syria by WFP and UNICEF to treat and prevent child malnutrition. The detrimental effects of malnutrition can cause lasting physical and mental damage and can even spread over an entire generation of Syrians.
The Syria response has become WFP’s largest and most difficult emergency worldwide. In order to meet the food needs of people affected by the Syrian conflict, WFP needs to raise U.S. $30 million every week.