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Food aid for thousands of Syrians could run out in October

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21 August 2013

Man and woman carry box of aid

Food aid is in serious danger of running out in some areas of the country due to lack of funding and the length of Syria’s conflict.

“We are very concerned. Right now this is our number one priority,” said Khaled Erksoussi, Head of Operations at the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which is one of the only organisations able to distribute food aid in the country.

'We are facing stark choices'

“Money is running out and we are facing stark choices. We already know that in some places food parcels are being split to feed two families instead of one.

“People are also having to sell some of their food to pay for essentials, so their rations are already very stretched. Without more funding we could see 150,000 people having to go without food aid from October.”

“We are making progress in reaching even more areas within Syria thanks to increased understanding of our neutrality from various armed groups. But we must have the aid to distribute.”

'This issue isn't going away'

The number of people who have fled Syria is now 1.9 million, but over four million inside Syria are still in need of food aid. Currently the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and partners are able to reach more than 2.1 million people each month. But they are facing a £3.9 million funding gap for food from October until the end of the year.

Katy Attfield from the British Red Cross said: “The deadline is fast approaching – if we don’t find additional funding soon, the food supply chain within Syria could dry up very quickly. The problem is not only how to cover October; we must have enough funds to cover the rest of this year and into next year. This is an issue that isn’t going away.”

Food and fuel costs rising

Rising costs of food and fuel coupled with repeated population movement, fighting and reduced employment have compounded the humanitarian situation within Syria.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent estimates 6.8 million people are now in need of some form of assistance. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies recently revised its appeal from 39 million Swiss francs [£26.9m] to 53.6 million Swiss Francs [£37m] to support the Syrian Red Crescent.

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