Please see below statement from Refugees International Senior Advocate for the Middle East Jesse Marks:
“A series of drastic World Food Program (WFP) cuts to food aid announced in June are now being felt across Syria among some of the country’s most food insecure people. WFP has had to slash its food assistance in Syria due to reduced donor support, cutting aid for 2.5 million people in need.
These cuts pile yet another crisis on top of protracted crisis as 3 million people are already food insecure in Northwest Syria—a region still reeling from the devastating earthquake earlier this year—and as the UN Security Council appears set to discontinue UN cross-border humanitarian assistance. Anything short of robust and predictable food assistance for people there could mean further suffering for millions.
The impact of WFP’s cuts will be particularly acute in internal displacement camps where 70 percent of food assistance is directed, and where women and children constitute nearly 80 percent of recipients. Meanwhile, NGOs involved in food delivery in Northwest Syria told Refugees International that these cuts have already sparked rising community tensions and will likely be felt across other sectors severely impacted by the earthquake, including protection and shelter.
Refugees International calls on USAID and other donors to scale funding for WFP food assistance to Syria and work with WFP to reverse additional planned cuts to food aid for September. Donors and aid agencies must also work closely with NGOs to find alternative means of aid delivery to vulnerable communities in Northwest Syria in light of the current closure of UN cross-border mechanism in Northwest Syria. For their part, WFP should coordinate more closely with the UN and the NGO community to develop a coverage plan to improve Syrians’ access to remaining food assistance.”
For more details on what is needed for the earthquake response in Northwest Syria, see Refugees International’s recent report “Earthquake Aftermath: Aiding Northwest Syria Without Rehabilitating Assad.”
To schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at email@example.com.