SYRIA: Three million people need food aid – UN

SYRIA: Three million people need food aid – UN

DUBAI, 2 August 2012 (IRIN) – The Syrian conflict has left up to three million people in need of food assistance and agricultural support in the next year, according to the UN and the Syrian government.

Family income has dropped; the cost of fuel is rising; remittances are down; farmers and herders have lost their assets and livelihoods; the wheat harvest has been delayed; and deforestation is rising, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform found in a joint assessment conducted in June.

Syria’s agricultural sector has lost US$1.8 billion this year because of the Syrian crisis, the assessment found.

“The effects of these major losses are first, and most viciously, felt by the poorest in the country. Most of the vulnerable families the mission visited reported less income and more expenditure – their lives becoming more difficult by the day,” WFP Representative and Country Director in Syria Muhannad Hadi said in a statement.

WFP and FAO say they need $100 million to scale up food distributions and assistance to rural people. A broader appeal by the UN for $180 million, launched in April, to respond to humanitarian needs in Syria remains one-quarter funded.