News / Middle East

UN: 1 Million Syrians Need Emergency Food Aid

A woman asks a Free Syrian Army fighter to sell her bread, in Maaret Misreen, near Idlib, Syria, December 13, 2012.
A woman asks a Free Syrian Army fighter to sell her bread, in Maaret Misreen, near Idlib, Syria, December 13, 2012.
The United Nations said Tuesday that about one million Syrians are living without adequate food supplies and that serious fuel shortages and rising violence are disrupting aid distribution across the war-torn country.
 
According to U.N. World Food Program spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs, the agency is distributing rations to about 1.5 million people in Syria every month, the vast majority internally displaced.  That is well below the 2.5 million people in need of assistance.
 
The lack of fuel and security in Syria has significantly curtailed the ability of the WFP's main local partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, from distributing aid.
 
"The Syrian Red Crescent is stretched to the limit and has no more capacity to expand further.  That is why we need more implementing partners, NGOs, on the ground to distribute humanitarian food assistance," Byrs said.

Only a handful of aid agencies are authorized to distribute relief goods, some of which lack adequate staff, fuel or materials. Increasing violence has forced ships to use the Lebanese port of Beirut instead of the Syrian port of Tartus, Byrs said.
 
Oxfam, ranked among the top international aid agencies in the world, is not present in Syria, but runs programs for Syrian refugees from neighboring Lebanon and Jordan.
 
The group's Beirut representative, Caroline Gluck, said Oxfam is "under discussion with [potential] local partners" to try to establish a presence in Syria.  She said a handful of other organizations may be there in an unofficial capacity.
 
The United Nations has appealed for $1.5 billion to help save millions of Syrians suffering from what it called a rapidly worsening humanitarian situation.  But Byrs said the U.N. call has gone largely unfulfilled.
 
"Apart from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and a few local charities, we have no other NGOs or people ready to do the job," she said.
 
Millions in need
 
The U.N. estimates four million people in Syria need urgent humanitarian aid, including an estimated two million displaced from their homes by fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels trying to topple him.
 
The number of registered Syrian refugees in neighboring countries has increased from 500,000 to nearly 600,000 in the past month, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
 
The United Nations estimates 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, when President Assad began suppressing what started as peaceful pro-democracy protests.  The protests evolved into an armed rebellion aimed at ending the Assad family's four-decade authoritarian rule.

Mark Snowiss

Mark Snowiss is a Washington D.C.-based multimedia reporter.  He has written and edited for various media outlets including Pacifica and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @msnowiss and on Google Plus

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark Burkley from: Highlands, Louisville, KY
January 08, 2013 10:31 PM
Well, here is the chance for this world to prove that love of Life is more important than love of Power...

by: Anonymous
January 08, 2013 7:20 PM
The largest enemy to Syria is Bashar al Assad. The world should spoil these people with food and medical supplies and show we care more than Bashar al Assad does. He is just an occupier now implementing terror in a campaign to try and scare the people. Each day the opposition is getting stronger and stronger, more and more Syrian people are united against Bashar al Assad. He doesn't realise the people of Syria make the country, not him. The entire world is anxious to see his downfall.

by: Mia from: US
January 08, 2013 7:12 PM
Would additional resources help at all? Can we help by donating somewhere?

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 08, 2013 3:44 PM
This horrendous tragedy just continues to grow unabatted. The UNSC needs to re-address the situation. Russia and China refused to authorize/vetoed stronger action, last time; they need to rethink their opposition to a forced humanitarian relief intervention. Humanitarian corridors need to be opened, with safe distribution areas along the corridors. We are seeing a new genocide in progress. I do realize that the Western countries have tried to somehow resolve the situation, but given the very bad Winter, this year, day by day the sit is more critical. Relief action for the civilian population is clearly needed. In this case silence is not golden.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs