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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 25 January, 2020

"Devastating": The World Food Programme has run out of money to feed 1.7m people

Funding has run out for feeding Syrian refugees.

A Syrian Kurdish refugee child from the Kobani area, drinks tea at a camp in Suruc
A Syrian Kurdish refugee child from the Kobani area, drinks tea at a camp in Suruc

THE WORLD FOOD Programme says that it cannot feed Syrian refugees as it has run out of funding.

In a statment on its website, the WFP said that due to a funding crisis it has been forced to suspend a critical proramme providing food vouchers to more than 1.7m Syrian refugees.

The refugees are based in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt and were able to use the vouchers to buy food in local shops.

WFP said that without the vouchers, many families will go hungry.

For refugees already struggling to survive the harsh winter, the consequences of halting this assistance will be devastating.

The programme is now appealing for donors.

“A suspension of WFP food assistance will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability and insecurity in the neighbouring host countries,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

“The suspension of WFP food assistance will be disastrous for many already suffering families.

Not prepared for a harsh winter

WFP also warned that Syrian refugees are ill-prepared for yet another harsh winter, especially in Lebanon and Jordan. It says that in these two countries, many children are “barefoot and without proper clothing”.

Many tents are drenched in mud and hygiene conditions are growing extremely precarious.

WFP requires a total of US$64 million immediately to support Syrian refugees during the month of December alone.

Turkey Syria A Syrian Kurdish refugee child from the Kobani area eats bread at a refugee camp in Suru Source: AP/Press Association Images

It says that if new funding arrives this month, the programme will immediately resume assistance for refugees who use food vouchers.

WFP’s voucher programme has injected about US$800 million dollars into the economies of refugee-hosting countries which border Syria, it said.

It has helped to feed millions of displaced people inside Syria and up to 1.8 million refugees in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

But it said this was only possible because of long-term donor funding and cooperation between WFP staff, partner organisations and host governments in the region.

Now it needs more donations to help feed nearly 2 million people who have been displaced from their home and face a harsh winter.

Read: Islamic State group slaughter dozens in one Iraqi village>

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