Food crops destroyed in north-west Syria leading to severe food shortage

Displaced children sitting together in tent in camp in Idlib, Syria. Displaced children sitting together in tent in camp in Idlib, Syria. Reuters 2019

4 June 2019

Syrians are forced to flee their homelands, struggling to find shelter, and facing food shortage.

With the continuous attacks in Syria, particularly in sub-districts of North Western Syria such as Idlib and Hama, at least 300,000 people were forced to flee their homes. Moreover, several thousands of acres of crops and farmland were burned, and farmers were not able to access their fields. This leads to food shortage on top of the already existing problem of civilian displacement from the violence.

The World Food Programme (WFP) Spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel expressed that this situation is as if farmers and families are being held “hostage” and is not acceptable. There are two possible explanations for the starting of the crop fires. One is simply that there were bombings on a hot and dry day which could start a fire. The other was a speculation that it is intentionally started by a group.

In the latest WFP Syria Situation Report from March, it mentioned that WFP has delivered general food assistance (GFA) for people across 14 Syrian governorates, which accounts for 87 percent of the monthly target of 3.6 million. It also reported that cross-border deliveries from Turkey under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2165 accounted for 22 percent of the total WFP food assistance dispatched. In addition to the food assistance, there is also the Livelihood and Resilience Programme, the School Feeding Programme, and the Nutrition Programme instructed by WFP to help with this situation.

Regarding those forced to flee the violence, many struggle to find shelter in camps in north Idlib, and others had fled to north-west Aleppo. Most camps are already overcrowded at the moment to the extent that there is no more room for an extra single tent. There are also civilians who have been walking for days and forced to sell their valuables in order to transport from their villages to north Idlib.

According to WFP, three-quarters of all Syrians now live in extreme poverty. The UN agencies helps 3.5 million of the 6.5 million people who are suffering food insecurity in the country. However, according to WFP urgently need funds of USD 129.7 million to keep current operations running through September 2019.


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Author: Yu - Jie Yao; Editor: Timo Knaebe

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