Websites associated with the Assad regime recently published a report from the so-called Central Bureau of Statistics, claiming collaboration with international entities, on household food security in Syria. The report asserted that none of the surveyed families received three meals a day. The survey, covering approximately 34,000 families across Syria, purportedly encompassed the entire geography, excluding the liberated north, and was conducted by trained teams.
Adnan Humaidan, the office director, emphasized the uniformity of nutritional living conditions across Syria, highlighting high rates of marginalized individuals, limited food-secure families, and widespread contentment with two meals a day, with some settling for just one. Rabih Kalaji, a People’s Assembly member, lamented the allocation of over 6,000 billion Syrian pounds in the 2024 budget for support while acknowledging the grim reality of some families consuming only one meal.
Kalaji acknowledged the challenging living situation discussed regularly in the Council, attributing difficulties to resource constraints. Despite a 3% decrease in the 2024 budget deficit from 2023, he considered it a positive sign amid challenging circumstances, noting the impact of exchange rate differences on expenditures and revenue difficulties in the Syrian pound.
The Central Bureau of Statistics described its survey as a groundbreaking effort to assess food security levels in Syria, aiming to inform future government and societal strategies. Conducted electronically using tablets provided by the Food Security Program, the survey involved 400 devices, transforming paper forms into a digital format.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) labelled food insecurity in Syria as reaching a “historic level” due to a deteriorating socio-economic situation, coinciding with heightened humanitarian needs. Dr. Shafiq Arbash, a former director of the Central Bureau of Statistics and Damascus University economics professor, warned that food security in regime-controlled areas faced threats, contributing to an increase in the poverty rate. Despite this, the pro-regime economist, Arbash, projected a poverty rate exceeding 90% in Syria, attributing it to rising prices in 2021.
Contradicting these findings, the World Food Program of the United Nations reported that over half of Syria’s population grappled with food shortages. Meanwhile, Amr Salem, the former Minister of Internal Trade in the regime’s government, claimed “food security is secure and more than excellent,” diverging from UN data and international reports on Syria’s food insecurity.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.