The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, David Beasley, has appealed to the world to invest in the Syrian people and communities to get them on their feet and off food assistance. During a visit to Syria on Friday, Beasley said that 12 million people in the country do not know where their next meal is coming from, while an additional 2.9 million are at risk of sliding into hunger.
“If we don’t address this humanitarian crisis in Syria, things are going to get worse than we can possibly imagine,” the WFP chief said. “Another wave of mass migration like the one that swept across Europe in 2015 – is that what the international community wants? If not, we must urgently seize this opportunity to avert the looming catastrophe and work together to bring peace and stability to the Syrian people.”
Following 12 years of conflict, an economy crippled by runaway inflation, a currency that has collapsed to a record low and soaring food prices, 12 million people are acutely food insecure. According to WFP, another 2.9 million people are at risk of sliding into hunger, meaning that 70% of the population may soon be unable to put food on the table for their families.
WFP says food prices have increased nearly twelve-fold over the last three years. Syria now has the sixth highest number of food insecure people in the world, with 2.5 million people who are severely food insecure, and their lives are at risk without food assistance. Child and maternal malnutrition are increasing at a speed never seen before – not even during over a decade of war.
The UN agency is providing monthly assistance for nearly seven million people. This includes food ration distributions, prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition, school meals, cash-based transfers and support for livelihoods, resilience, and social safety nets. WFP says the generosity of donors has been key to providing life-saving food assistance for millions of people whose lives have been torn apart by more than a decade of conflict and displacement.
The Syrian conflict is one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises worldwide. The crisis continues to cause tremendous human suffering to people both inside and outside the country. People in Syria have been subject to massive and systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The UN estimates that in 2023 approximately 15.3 million people will need life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian assistance and protection.
Twelve years of conflict in Syria have led to one of the two largest displacement crises in the world - the other being the military invasion of Ukraine - with more than 12.6 million people fleeing their homes. While 6.9 million women, men and children are internally displaced in their own country, the civil war has resulted in more than 5.7 million Syrian refugees, located mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization. The UN agency, awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, is saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to support people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. The World Food Programme works in over 120 countries and territories. For millions of people worldwide, WFP assistance can make the difference between life and death. In 2022, WFP assistance reached some 140 million people globally.
Full text: Hunger soars to 12-year high in Syria, WFP chief calls for urgent action, WFP press release, published January 27, 2023
Donate to the WFP now