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Syria Facing Critical Food Shortages, U.N. Food Agencies Say; WHO Warns Country’s Health Needs Rising

“The United Nations food agencies on Friday appealed for more funds to help an estimated four million Syrians unable to produce or buy enough to eat as a new report detailed a farming sector severely hit by the conflict,” Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost reports (7/5). “The most vulnerable include the internally displaced, small-scale farmers, herders, casual traders, the urban poor, pregnant mothers, the disabled and chronically sick,” and if conditions persist, the food outlook for 2014 will be worse than the current situation, the report from the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said, according to The Guardian (Tran, 7/5). “A fifth of the country’s population is starving, and FAO so far has only received $3.3 million of the $41.7 million the U.N. agency requested to continue its operations in Syria, while WFP needs at least $27 million a week,” Devex notes (Santamaria, 7/5). Meanwhile, “[r]estrictions put in place by the Syrian authorities have increasingly blocked delivery of medicine and medical supplies around the country, even to areas under government control and even as health needs are escalating for people trapped in two years of conflict, the World Health Organization warned on Friday,” the New York Times reports (Mourtada/Cumming-Bruce, 7/5).