Earlier this month, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced its plan to reduce aid throughout Syria by nearly half. In the section concerning the implementation of the aid reduction in northwest Syria, Yanni Suvanto, director of the WFP Office and Emergency Coordinator for Northwest Syria Operations, wrote a letter to Abdulrahman Shamous, a member of HTS’s Department of Political Affairs and former minister of development and humanitarian affairs in the Salvation Government.
The letter stated, “The increasing needs in Syria have surpassed the available resources, making it impossible for WFP to maintain its current level of life-saving food assistance.” It further mentioned that starting in July, WFP will have to cut its budget by 40 percent and reduce assistance to 2.5 million out of the 5.5 million food-insecure people in Syria, who receive general food assistance from WFP every month.
The letter emphasized that WFP faces a funding gap for the food assistance program this year, despite receiving substantial contributions to humanitarian operations in Syria. This shortfall is partly due to high food and operating costs. In order to prevent WFP’s resources from running out entirely in October, the organization considered it necessary to prioritize those in dire need, leading to a complete halt of the program.
WFP was compelled to implement these cuts after exploring all available options, including the gradual reduction of ration sizes over the past year. However, providing smaller rations became unfeasible. Despite the reduction, WFP highlighted its commitment to remain one of the largest humanitarian and early recovery actors in Syria.
Suspension of support for 2.5 million Syrians
“On 13 June, WFP made the difficult decision to prioritize the very limited resources by expanding assistance to three million Syrians who are unable to survive week to week without food, instead of continuing to assist 5.5 million people and facing the depletion of food supplies by next October,” stated WFP in a recent announcement.
Ken Crossley, WFP Representative and Country Director for Syria expressed the distressing situation, saying, “Rather than meeting the growing needs or even maintaining current levels of assistance, we find ourselves confronted with the grim reality of withdrawing support from those who need it most.”
Syrians have been enduring a state of emergency for the past 12 years due to the Assad regime’s war against its own people, resulting in widespread destruction, displacement, and the asylum of half of Syria’s population. Furthermore, Syrians have been struck by additional disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 and a devastating earthquake last February.
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.