Conditions grow worse for Syrian refugees as winter bites

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
A Syrian mother holding her new born baby in
Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Amman/Washington: The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that thousands of refugees who fled the conflict in Syria to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq are now facing a harsh winter.

In a press release, WFP said more than 30,000 Syrian refugees have already sought refuge just in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, and every day new families risk their lives crossing the border. Over the past week, an average of 300 people arrived in the camp daily.

"It's already winter in this camp. It is very cold, the temperature drops here as low as minus two or minus three sometimes, especially at night and WFP is providing food to these refugees, to every family here in this camp. They can get a nutritious meal every day and it helps them fend off the cold," said WFP spokesperson Laure Chadraoui.

The UN body distributes six metric tonnes of bread each day. Newly arriving families also receive WFP ready-to-eat meals.

The agency's food rations combined with complimentary goods from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, provide nearly 2,400 kilocalories per person on a daily basis, the necessary energy requirement to help them through the cold.

More than 465,000 Syrian refugees are currently registered or awaiting registration in Syria's neighbouring countries. Joint needs assessments in these countries showed that food was a top priority. WFP has provided food assistance to close to 160,000 refugees during October, using food vouchers and in-kind food distributions and continues to scale up assistance.

In Jordan itself, the conflict in Syria is also affecting food prices. The reduction of food imports from Syria and an increased demand from new Syrian arrivals have increased food prices by nearly 50 percent. -UNifeed
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