WFP scales up operations to reach more Syrian refugees with food assistance

Saturday, September 08, 2012
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Washington/Geneva: WFP is scaling up its operations to reach 1.5 million people in Syria this month with food assistance, as large numbers of Syrians flee their homes and thousands more Syrians pour into neighbouring countries.

WFP is responding to cover the food needs of refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey with food distributions, hot meals and an innovative programme of food vouchers.

In Jordan WFP is providing close to 35,000 hot meals on a daily basis to Syrian refugees in Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate, and an average of 3,500 hot meals in King Abdullah Park transit centre. WFP also provides welcome packages of ready-to-eat food for new arrivals at Zaatari.

WFP and UNHCR are working together to set up kitchen facilities for refugees at Zaatari camp and WFP will provide food rations as soon as cooking facilities are put in place.

Elsewhere in the country, WFP is providing food and introducing a food voucher system targeting more than 35,000 refugees living with host communities in Irbid, Zarqa, Mafraq, Karak and Amman, with plans to reach 70,000 by the end of the year.

In Lebanon, WFP is providing assistance for more than 33,000 Syrian refugees in the North, including in the town of Tripoli, and in the Bekaa Valley either through family food packages or through vouchers.

Ultimately, all beneficiaries will receive food vouchers and, working with partners, WFP aims to reach up to 40,000 people by December. Twenty-five selected shops in the northern Akkar district are now accepting WFP food vouchers. Shop assessments are also on-going in the Tripoli area for a voucher programme.

WFP's spokesperson in Lebanon, Abeer Etefa, said "the humanitarian needs and especially the food needs for Syrians inside their country as well as the ones fleeing to the neighbouring countries are growing."

A rapid assessment conducted in April showed the vast majority of Syrians in Lebanon are dependent on external forms of support to meet their food needs.  They are already resorting, for example, to reducing the number of meals, reducing portions or buying food on credit. Almost 75 percent of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are women and children. -UNifeed
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