After six years of continuous conflict and civil war, hunger in Syria has become a major crisis. Providing the necessary food aid for Syrians has become increasingly difficult as the danger escalates and the number of refugees multiplies.
Over 11 million Syrians have fled their homes to other Syrian cities or neighboring countries in search of safety. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are over 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees. As the conflict continues, the issue of hunger in Syria intensifies. Despite these difficulties, international organizations are doing everything they can to help Syrians in need. Here are five facts about the triumphs and challenges of hunger in Syria:
- According to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, 8.7 million people in Syria are food insecure.
Food insecurity refers to the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable and nutritious food. Soaring food prices have only exacerbated the situation. Prices for bread, the cornerstone of the Syrian diet, have increased by more than 100% since 2014.
- The ShareTheMeal app has helped feed nearly 25,000 Syrians over the past year.
The ShareTheMeal app allows participants to donate just $0.50 in order to feed a child for an entire day. Since November 2015, ShareTheMeal has provided Syrian refugee children and mothers with food support for an entire year.
- Food production in Syria has dropped by 40% since 2010.
Nearly half of Syria’s population lives in rural regions. The war has destroyed agricultural infrastructure and irrigation systems, which has, in turn, decreased production. Wheat, in particular, has suffered dramatically from both the conflict and low rainfall.
- The World Food Program (WFP) is providing 240,000 Syrian children with nutrient supplements to prevent malnutrition.
Child malnutrition can lead to stunting, disease and even death. In order to prevent undernutrition, WFP provides ready-to-eat, specialized nutritional products to thousands of Syrian children under the age of 5.
- The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) has distributed food parcels to over 2.5 million people.
SARC is one of the only organizations working in the entirety of Syria to provide humanitarian aid. Every month, SARC distributes food parcels and health care items to over three million people in need.
Although it will take $86.5 million this year to assist the nearly three million people in need who remain in the country, hunger in Syria can be diminished. WFP, UNHCR and their partners have taken great strides to accomplish this goal. With an increase in the International Affairs budget, the U.S. can also help save the lives of millions of Syrians suffering from hunger.
– Kristyn Rohrer