News / Middle East

Looming Drought in Syria Puts Millions at Risk

FILE - Syrian farmers collect crops in a field in Daraa, 100 kms south of Damascus, on June 5, 2010.
FILE - Syrian farmers collect crops in a field in Daraa, 100 kms south of Damascus, on June 5, 2010.
Lisa Schlein
— The World Food Program is warning a looming drought in conflict-ridden Syria could put millions of lives at risk.  A special WFP report published Tuesday focuses on the likely impact of a potential drought.

Syria suffered a severe drought in 2008, which persisted into 2010.  Vulnerable communities in affected areas of the country barely had a chance to recover from food shortages and rising prices arising from this event before it was plunged into war in 2011.   

The World Food Program warns the potential impact of a looming drought hitting the northwest of Syria could seriously affect the next cereal harvest.  It says 6.5 million people could be at risk of acute food shortages and they will need international aid to survive.

WFP Spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs tells VOA rainfall since September has been less than half the long-term average.

“There is only one month left in the rainfall season that lasts until mid-May and with three quarters of the rainfall season gone, it is unlikely there will be a significant recovery in this agricultural season," she said. "... I am just saying that the situation is of concern because it will add another problem on top of the conflict consequence impact for the people who already need urgent life-saving assistance.”   

The WFP Special Focus Syria report finds dry conditions affecting the wider Middle East will compound the impact of the civil war on the agricultural sector.  The report says the northwest of the country, in particular the Aleppo, Idleb and Hama governorates, are the worst affected.  These areas account for nearly half of Syrian wheat production.

The report notes livestock also will suffer from water shortages and the lack of grazing land.

A U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, says a major drought could lead to more displacement.

“We can expect more refugees to leave if, on top of the conflict, they feel that their lives are in danger because there is no food," said Lejeune-Kaba. "But it is hard to say obviously how many, because they could also move to other parts of Syria.”   

The World Food Program says it hopes to reach 4.2 million displaced people in Syria with food assistance in April.  But it notes it is short of cash, so beneficiaries this month will have their food rations cut by 16 percent.  The agency says it requires about $41 million every week to meet the food needs of people affected by the conflict in Syria.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John
April 10, 2014 7:47 AM
They want our money! Why am I not surprised?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid