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UN Food Agency Falls Short of Syria Aid Goal

  • Lisa Schlein

Syrian refugees shop after they receiving humanitarian aid shopping vouchers at a mall in Amman, April 11, 2013.

Syrian refugees shop after they receiving humanitarian aid shopping vouchers at a mall in Amman, April 11, 2013.

The World Food Program says it has distributed food aid to a record 3.3 million Syrians in October, up from 2.7 million in September but still short of its four-million person target.

The U.N. agency says regional insecurity is hampering its ability to distribute aid to some parts of Syria.

Large swathes of territory near Aleppo and Hassekeh remain inaccessible to aid agencies, and WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs says other areas are becoming inaccessible due to the intensification of the conflict, especially in areas near Damascus.

WFP has been unable to access 38 locations for more than one year including Moadamiyeh, near Damascus, she said, explaining that the agency has made nine unsuccessful attempts to reach these places over the past year.

“WFP is still very concerned about the fate of many Syrians trapped in conflict areas and still in need of urgent food assistance," she said. "We are monitoring worrying reports of emerging malnutrition among children in besieged areas and WFP is ready to step up nutrition support if we get access to these hot spots.”

This week an estimated 1,800 Syrian civilians fled Moadamiyeh due to a rare moment of convergence between Syrian government forces and rebel fighters.

Residents have been cut off from food, medical supplies and other basic items, and thousands of civilians reportedly remain trapped in the town.

Byrs says the Syrian Red Crescent was on hand to help those people who managed to leave Moadamiyeh.

“They are supporting these poor people who have been malnourished for months and weeks and they are providing additional nutritional food and trying to give them the proper food rations they need.”

Byrs says in October WFP has been successful in distributing food to some areas that had been inaccessible for many months, including areas in Homs that have not been reached for the past six months and several areas in rural Damascus.
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