Syria: Humanitarian Crisis Worsens, WFP To Seek More Funding

Faiza Alabed holds her newborn, with her son by her side. The family fled the violence in Syria for the safety of Jordan. (Bill Lyons/CRS)

As fighting continues in Syria, humanitarian needs are increasing. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reports, “there has been a recent dramatic increase in the number of people leaving their homes in search of safety with a number of them seeking shelter in schools across the country.”

WFP, through its partner the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, is feeding 850,000 people in 14 Syrian governorates. Funding for the relief mission is short $43 million dollars. As WFP plans to increase food distributions to 1.5 million civilians, even more funding will be required. WFP depends entirely on voluntary donations.

Many others Syrians are fleeing into neighboring countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says there is a “major increase” in Syrians fleeing into Jordan. Last Thursday, a record 2, 200 Syrians crossed the border into Jordan. The average number of refugees arriving in Jordan had already increased to about 1000 a day and prior to that was around 400.

In just one week the number of refugees fleeing Syria into neighboring countries increased from 170,116 to 202,512. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says, “Further arrivals are expected.”

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is providing aid to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. Caroline Brennan of CRS recently interviewed some of the refugees. One of them told her, “We escaped in the middle of the night. God protected us. We came to Jordan with nothing-literally with the clothes on our backs. The most important thing is that our kids are safe. I didn’t even take my last paycheck when we left. I couldn’t look back.”

A recent UN study shows the long-term effect of this conflict. The reports says 3 million people in Syria will need assistance over the next 12 months. There are, “Large numbers of rural people of the central, coastal, eastern, northeast and southern governorates were found to have totally or partially lost their farming assets and livestock-based livelihoods and businesses, due to the on-going insecurity, coupled with a prolonged drought. ”

Resources will be needed to help those suffering in Syria as well as the ever-growing number of refugees.

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