4.3M people in need of food security and livelihoods support in northwest Syria - 23 September 2020

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The Global Food Security Cluster (gFSC) urges sustained access and scaled-up lifesaving assistance to thousands of internally displaced people and smallholder farmers.

Displaced families make up two-thirds of the population of northwest Syria (NWS). They rely on food assistance to survive as conflict persists, the economy is in crisis, and agricultural production ‒ the only income-generating sector left — is being further limited by COVID-19 measures.

The threat of a COVID-19 outbreak is aggravating the economic downturn and constraining humanitarian response further – a situation that could have severe impacts in NWS as well as across the whole region.

Food insecurity in NWS has become even more critical over the last months, due to the large-scale displacement of about 1M people who left villages affected by the conflict. Furthermore, local economies are in downturn as food prices skyrocket while the purchasing power of the most vulnerable households is being sharply eroded.

The increased number of people in need in NWS is compounded by the reduced number of border crossings for humanitarian assistance, which have been reduced to a single point in Idlib Governorate.

Relying on a single-entry point for all partners is expected to lead to delayed shipments – the majority of which are food – as well as higher costs and more complex logistics. Agricultural production inputs supply to NWS is less affected as it does not require frequent repeated shipments.

Poor road conditions to northern Aleppo and Afrin will be deteriorate more due to the extra trucks now using them, hampering operations further.

As such, it is vital to sustain funding and use every means available to ensure the timely and planned delivery of lifesaving assistance, especially given the added COVID-19 restrictions.