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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Amid funding shortfalls, UN agency to make food aid cuts to Syrian refugees

1 July 2015 – A severe lack of funding is forcing the United Nations to implement deeper cuts in food assistance to vulnerable Syrian refugees across Lebanon and Jordan, the Organization has confirmed.

According to a press release issued earlier today, the World Food Programme's (WFP) regional refugee operation remains 81 per cent underfunded and requires an immediate injection of $139 million in order to continue helping "desperate" refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq until the end of the summer.

"Just when we thought things couldn't get worse, we are forced yet again to make yet more cuts," said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. "Refugees were already struggling to cope with what little we could provide."

The WFP explained that since the beginning of 2015 it has sought to prioritize available funds in order to ensure continued assistance to families most in need. The growing limitations on resources, however, have already forced the UN food agency to reduce its range of assistance to 1.6 million Syrian refugees in the five countries.

"We are extremely concerned about the impact these cuts will have on refugees and the countries that host them," Mr. Hadi continued. "Families are taking extreme measures to cope such as pulling their children out of school, skipping meals and getting into debt to survive. The long-term effects of this could be devastating."

The four-year Syria conflict has generated a steady outflow of almost 4 million refugees into neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, burdening those countries' infrastructures and leading to overcrowded settlements where many refugees struggle amid high unemployment and precarious services.

According to the latest data available, Turkey alone is host to 1,772,535 registered Syrian refugees – more than any other in the world – with about 259,000 living in 23 camps set up and managed by the Government.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian impact of the crisis is only further compounded by the grim human toll which, as of today, counts 220,000 people killed and over one million injured since hostilities began.

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