DAMASCUS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started distribution of emergency ready-to-eat food rations and high-energy biscuits to thousands of newly displaced families who were forced to flee Banias and surrounding villages on Syria’s Mediterranean coast to Tartous city following heavy fighting in their villages.
The distribution will continue for the next few days to more than 10,000 people – mainly women and children – in gathering points and shelters in communities such as Zamrin, Breej and Mrah, near Tartous city. Following the emergency ration, families will be given WFP’s regular food basket which includes rice, bulgur, sugar, pasta, vegetable oil and lentils.
“We are gravely concerned about the increased scale of violence throughout the country,” said WFP’s Operations Director in Syria, Matthew Hollingworth. “We are facing enormous challenges to move around the country, but WFP is doing all it can to deliver food to civilians caught up in the fighting. Unfortunately, some people are beyond our reach in conflict zones which we have limited or no access. We urge all parties to the conflict to facilitate the free passage of humanitarian assistance.”
On-going clashes on the main route between Tartous and Damascus, further south, could significantly disrupt the movement of WFP cargo from Tartous Port to WFP’s warehouse in the capital city. More than 60 percent of all food stored in this warehouse – enough for one million people – arrives from Tartous Port through the Damascus-Homs highway, which is witnessing heavy fighting.
Food is then dispatched from the Damascus warehouse to affected families in Quneitera, Dara’a, As-Sweida, Rural Damascus, Deir-ez-Zor, Al-Hassakeh and Ar-Raqqa governorates.
WFP must raise US$19.5 million each week to feed 2.5 million people inside Syria and more than one million refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com): Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600 Mob. +2 010 666 34352 Laure Chadraoui, WFP/Beirut-Amman, Mob. + 962795917987 and +9613489925 Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474 Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. Tel. +39 06 65132321, Mob. +39 346 7600521 Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 473 4570 Reem Nada, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2610, Mob. +2 010 666 34522