U.N. Warns Humanitarian Needs Growing In Syria; 2.5M People Need Emergency Food Aid

“The United Nations food relief agency [on Tuesday] warned that humanitarian needs in Syria — especially for food — are growing, with serious bread and fuel shortages across the war-torn country,” the U.N. News Centre reports (1/8). “The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said nearly 2.5 million people — most of them internally displaced by the fighting — needed emergency food aid,” the Guardian writes, adding, “But WFP is only able to reach 1.5 million as the situation on the ground worsens, it said” (Harding/Black, 1/8).

“‘WFP is unable to further scale-up assistance due to the lack of implementing partners on the ground and challenges reaching some of the country’s hardest-hit areas,’ spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said in an e-mailed statement [Tuesday]. ‘Our main partner, the [Syrian Arab] Red Crescent, is overstretched and has no more capacity to expand further,'” she added, Bloomberg reports (Abu-Nasr/Hamid, 1/8). “Only a handful of aid agencies are authorized to distribute relief goods, some of which lack adequate staff, fuel or materials,” according to VOA News (Snowiss, 1/8). Last month, the U.N. “appealed for $1.5 billion to help the millions of Syrians suffering from what it called a dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation,” Reuters notes (Nebehay, 1/8).