UN cuts Syria food aid over funding shortfall

2014-10-13 22:00
(Baraa Al-Halabi, AFP)

(Baraa Al-Halabi, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kuwait City - The United Nations said on Monday that it has started cutting the food aid it provides to 4.2 million Syrians ravaged by war because of a shortfall in funding.

"Yes, we have already started... this month," to cut supplies to the 4.2 million Syrians inside the country who have been receiving food aid, the World Food Programme's assistant executive director Elisabeth Rasmusson told AFP in an interview.

"We decided that because of the funding shortfall, we will provide food to everybody but its cut down to 60% of the normal [food] basket," she said.

Around two million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt would also be affected by the WFP's decision to scale back assistance from next month, Rasmusson said.

The WFP requires about $352m until the end of the year as it has completely run out of funds and is totally dependent on "internal finance mechanisms" to operate, she said.

Rasmusson is in Kuwait to attend a meeting for main Syria donor countries and agencies. Kuwaiti officials complained during the meeting that some countries have not fulfilled their aid pledges for Syria.

Kuwait hosted two high-level conferences for Syria donors in January 2013 and January this year, with attendees pledging more than $6bn.

Rasmusson said she understands a third conference is expected to be held in January, but the venue has not been determined.

Cutbacks in aid to refugees in countries neighbouring war-torn Syria will start from next month. Syrians in Lebanon will receive 20-30% less assistance and in Turkey, WFP will not provide food to refugees in camps, the UN official said.

Rasmusson said WFP and UN officials are working "day and night" to contact donor countries and private sector because "we do not want to stop providing food to the Syrians".

She said WFP and UN aid agencies budgets have been strained by trying to respond to multiple crises around the world, particularly conflicts in the Middle East and the Ebola virus in West Africa.

"WFP budget projections for 2014 were $4.3bn. Now, the needs are $8.5bn," said Rasmusson, adding that "the funding needs for the Middle East have at least doubled to around $4bn" with Syria accounting for half of the amount.

More than 180 000 people have been killed in the past three and a half years in Syria's civil war, while jihadists from the Islamic State group seized swathes of territory in northern Syria and Iraq in an offensive in June. Conflicts have also erupted in South Sudan and Yemen.

WFP provides food aid to around 8.5 million people in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan.

Read more on:    un  |  syria

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.