Lacking Money, WFP Suspends Food Vouchers For 1.7M Syrian Refugees; Christian Science Monitor Examines Funding For Food Aid Programs

New York Times: U.N. Cuts Food Aid to Refugees From Syria
“Facing what it described as a severe cash shortfall, the United Nations food aid organization said on Monday that it had been forced to suspend a voucher program that was helping to feed 1.7 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries…” (Cumming-Bruce/Gladstone, 12/1).

Reuters: WFP suspends food aid for 1.7 mln Syrian refugees
“…Suspension of the assistance program comes as many vulnerable Syrian families enter their fourth bleak winter in difficult living conditions after fleeing a homeland racked by conflict since March 2011…” (Miles, 12/1).

U.N. News Centre: Syria: U.N. forced to suspend food aid, warns of ‘disastrous’ impact as winter nears
“…Under this program, destitute Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt have been using WFP vouchers to buy food in local shops. Without these vouchers, many families will simply go hungry…” (12/1).

Wall Street Journal: United Nations’ Food Program Halts Aid to Syrian Refugees
“…In a statement on their website, the WFP said the consequences of the decision will be ‘devastating’ for the refugees and their host countries. ‘A suspension of WFP food assistance will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability, and insecurity in the neighboring host countries,’ WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said in the statement…” (Ballout, 12/1).

Washington Post: Lack of money at World Food Program leaves 1.7 million Syrians without aid
“…The program, which provides electronic vouchers for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt to buy food at local stores, faces a $64 million shortfall, the agency said, attributing the problem to ‘unfulfilled’ donor commitments…” (Naylor, 12/1).

Christian Science Monitor: Why are the world’s food aid programs running short of money?
“Monday’s announcement from the United Nations’ main emergency food assistance agency was alarming enough: A shortage of funding has forced the World Food Programme to suspend its food aid to more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees. But behind the dire news for displaced Syrians already facing the challenge of a harsh winter is an equally worrisome global picture for food aid programs as a whole, as crises across the Middle East and Africa overwhelm international capacity and donor largesse…” (LaFranchi, 12/1).

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