World Food Programme suspended for Syrian refugees
It’s a cold world that cannot feed those fleeing from warfare. Winter is coming to Jordan and Lebanon, just as the UN has announced it can no longer afford to feed the refugees from the Syrian conflict. Some Syrians left their home country with some assets but many fled with only their clothing. Many women with small children fled, their fathers and husbands dead in the conflict.
The UN WFP has been issuing food vouchers in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to those who cannot afford to buy food. The vouchers have cost the programme about $800 million to date and bolstered the economies of the countries hosting the refugees.
Many receiving food aid live in the refugee camps have no ability to buy winter clothes or blankets. Without the calories provided under the voucher programme many will not survive. The suspension of the system puts 1.7 million people at risk.
The UN spokesperson said that $64 million is needed to cover costs for December alone.
"A suspension of WFP food assistance will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability and insecurity in the neighbouring host countries," said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, in an appeal to donors. Al Jazeera
The lack of money to provide food aid for millions still in Syria and in tent cities outside that country has forced the UN to triage who gets fed. They are sending their resources to areas at higher elevations and trying to provide enough calories to sustain pregnant women and new-borns. Other will simply not eat.
The World Food Programme is supported by donations. It is the largest humanitarian agency distributing food world-wide. Around the world many go hungry and depend on charities and the WFP to get enough food to survive.
Wealthy countries like Canada, US and many EU countries are struggling to feed their own marginalized citizens. At the same time that local food banks are stretched to their limits, many countries around the world are desperate to receive food aid. There are no easy answers to this crisis.
Incomplete list of countries aided by WFP
United Republic of Tanzania
Ethiopia Eastern Ukraine
West Africa Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of the Congo
West Bank Gaza Strip
Central African Republic
Sources:World Food Programme