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Food needed by 3 million Syrians

3 million Syrians are in need of food, crops and livestock assistance (© WFP/John Wreford)
3 million Syrians are in need of food, crops and livestock assistance
© WFP/John Wreford

A survey by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Syria's Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, has found that 3 million Syrians are in need of food, crops and livestock assistance as a result of ongoing conflict, coupled with a prolonged drought. In areas that have seen the greatest conflict, 1.5 million people need urgent help over the next three to six months, with 1 million in need of seeds, food for animals, and fuel and repair of irrigation pumps.

The joint survey has warned that those most in need are female-headed households, migrant workers, small farmers, Bedouins and herders. "The most vulnerable families in Syria depend entirely or partly on agriculture and farm animals for food and income," says FAO's Abdulla BinYehia. "If timely assistance is not provided, the livelihood system of these vulnerable people could simply collapse in a few months' time. Winter is fast approaching and urgent action is needed before then." The assessment also found that deforestation was increasing due to the unavailability of fuel.

Wheat, barley, cherry, olive, and vegetable production have been badly affected by the ongoing crisis which has caused losses of US$1.8 billion to the agriculture sector. "While the economic implications of these losses are quite grave, the humanitarian implications are far more pressing," explains WFP's Muhannad Hadi. "The effects of these major losses are first, and most viciously, felt by the poorest in the country."

Date published: August 2012

 

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