U.N. Boosts Food Assistance to Syriansإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The U.N.'s World Food Program said on Tuesday it was boosting assistance to the population in strife-torn Syria, to reach 500,000 people in the coming weeks.
"As the conflict continues, Syrians in areas affected by the violence are struggling to feed their families and WFP is deeply concerned about the potential for food insecurity," executive director Ertharin Cousin said in a statement.
Even before the revolt broke out in Syria in March 2011, 1.4 million Syrians "were struggling to meet their daily food needs," Cousin said.
Meanwhile, a joint mission conducted last month by several U.N. agencies, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Syrian government "estimated that as many as one million people in the governorates visited were in need of humanitarian assistance," the statement noted.
Working in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, WFP has so far been assisting 100,000 people in the cities of Hama, Homs, Idlib and Damascus.
Violence in Hama, Homs and Idlib provinces, and their capital cities, as well as areas around Damascus, has been heavy for months, and "struggling families are concentrated in areas that are currently affected by unrest," the WFP said.
"The expansion of our assistance came at the request of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and we are ready to further scale up our humanitarian assistance when access permits," said Cousin.
In addition to the violence, multiple crises have led to increased food insecurity in Syria.
Rising food prices, including the doubling of the cost of bread, have led to hundreds of thousands of Syrians suffering heightened vulnerability.
Four consecutive droughts since 2006 also triggered "significant losses" of crops and livestock, mostly in the northeast, according to experts.
The drought was particularly devastating in 2007-2008.
Experts said 1.3 million people had been affected by the drought. Of that number, 800,000 people were "devastated," said a UN official.
Also affected by food insecurity are Syrian refugees who have fled to neighboring Jordan.
The agency "has begun distributing hot meals to 1,000 Syrian refugees living in guest houses in Ramtha in northwest Jordan," while providing food packages to 15,000 Syrians in various parts of Jordan.