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New crisis in Syria
Action Against Hunger is deeply concerned that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended its food assistance scheme for Syrian refugees due to lack of funding.
London, 1 December 2014
The move will immediately affect more than 1.7 million people already in dire need. Since the beginning of the conflict four years ago, more than 3.2 million Syrian refugees have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. All are largely reliant on humanitarian aid.
This dramatic figure is expected to increase in the coming months due to pervasive regional instability. Another 10 million people are food insecure within Syria and dependent on regular food assistance.
“Unfortunately the decision to suspend these programmes is not surprising, as the humanitarian community had already warned of insufficient humanitarian funding on various occasions," said Jean-Raphael Poitou, Regional Director for ACF in the Middle East. "According to the UN, only 51 per cent of the financial needs have been covered for 2014. Even more refugees will be affected if there are any further cuts. This is particularly worrying as winter approaches.”
The WFP’s decision will directly impact Action Against Hunger’s operations in Lebanon. The organisation is distributing food vouchers to 190,000 beneficiaries in partnership with the UN food agency.
We believe these cuts will affect the most vulnerable. It is expected that families will be forced to reduce the quantity and quality of their food intake, which increases the risk of malnutrition, particularly in children aged below five.
In addition to directly helping Syrian refugees, food vouchers have a direct impact on local markets in countries such as Lebanon, where refugees represent up to 25 per cent of the total population.