UN cuts down on food aid to Syrian refugeesStaff writer ▼ | July 3, 2015
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it will cut down on assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan due to a severe lack of funding.
Contributions A severe lack of funding
The WFP’s sole source of funding is contributions from governments, companies and individuals. At this time, regional operations targeting refugees are 81% underfunded and requiring US$ 139 million immediately for continued assistance to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq through September.
“Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, we are forced yet again to make yet more cuts,” said Muhannad Hadi, the WFP regional director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, according to the press release.
“Refugees were already struggling to cope with what little we could provide,” he added.
In July, WFP will halve the value of food vouchers, or e-cards, in Lebanon, down to US$ 13.50 per person, per month. In Jordan, WFP fears that if it doesn’t receive funding by August, all aid to Syrians living outside refugee camps will need to be suspended, leaving some 440,000 with no food.
Since the beginning of this year WFP has worked to prioritize available funds to ensure continued assistance to families most in need. However, so far, the lack of funding has forced the program to reduce assistance to 1.6 million Syrian refugees in five countries.
“We are extremely concerned about the impact these cuts will have on refugees and the countries that host them,” Hadi said.
“Families are taking extreme measures to cope such as pulling their children out of school, skipping meals and getting into debt to survive. The long-term effects of this could be devastating,” he stressed.
Since the Syria conflict broke out in 2011, the WFP has successfully met the food needs of millions of internally displaced persons in Syria and roughly 2 million refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. ■