Syria mVAM Bulletin #19: November 2017 - Food security in Eastern Ghouta remains dire, but food access improves slightly following WFP distributions

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Key Points

  • Households with poor food consumption are consuming alarmingly low levels of protein and haem iron-rich food

  • Increasing numbers of IDPs are relying on negative food-related coping strategies

  • Food prices remain extremely high in Eastern Ghouta as the siege continues to hamper household access to food

Situation Updates

Heavy fighting in north-eastern Hama governorate continued in November, triggering population displacement into the Idleb countryside. Following the recapture of Ar-Raqqa, an estimated 20,000 people have returned to three districts of Ar Raqqa city, however, basic services such as water, electricity and communications remain largely unavailable.

The intensification of the five-year siege on Eastern Ghouta has significantly undermined food security. A survey conducted by UNICEF in November in areas of Eastern Ghouta indicated that the proportion of children under 5 suffering from acute malnutrition has risen from 2.1 percent in January 2017 to 11.9 percent in November 2017. This is the highest rate of child acute malnutrition recorded in Syria since the beginning of the conflict.

WFP conducted a joint rapid food security and market assessment in the Duma sub-district of Eastern Ghouta, where a majority of its 175,000 residents, are in need of humanitarian assistance. Supply routes into Eastern Ghouta were completely closed-off for three months (since September 2017) causing food prices to increase dramatically. By mid-November, the price of bread (a daily staple) had increased to 85 times the price for the same commodity in Damascus just 15 kilometres away. Since end-November however, one trader has been allowed to trade some food items, causing a slight reduction in the price of food.