WFP Plans To Reach 2.5M People In Syria As Government Expands List Of Local Aid Groups Allowed To Work In Country

“The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) plans to reach 2.5 million people inside Syria with food aid — a million more than it is currently assisting — now that the government has expanded the list of local partners it can work with, the agency’s chief said” Wednesday, the U.N. News Centre reports (1/16). “Ertharin Cousin, the WFP head, said on Wednesday that Syria had allowed the organization to work with local aid groups to reach more of those in need,” Al Jazeera writes, adding, “Until now most of the agency’s food aid was delivered through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which was overstretched and only able to provide help to some 1.5 million Syrians a month” (1/16).

“But last week, [Cousin] says, the Syrian authorities gave the agency a list of 110 non-governmental organizations that can help distribute food,” VOA News notes, adding, “Out of this list, she says WFP has chosen 44 groups with whom it will work” (Schlein, 1/16). “The WFP aims to reach both government and opposition-controlled areas in all of Syria’s 14 provinces, but in some places heavy fighting has restricted access, said WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs,” according to Reuters. “The WFP is distributing wheat flour to rural families to help them bake bread” and “is also planning to distribute much-needed fuel to bakeries as part of its operation, said Cousin,” the news agency notes (Nebehay, 1/16).