Syria

WFP Syria Situation Report #4, April 2021

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

In Numbers

12.4 million people food insecure

1.3 million severely food insecure

6.7 million people internally displaced

Highlights

  • WFP dispatched humanitarian assistance sufficient for an estimated 4.6 million people across all activities in Syria in April.

  • In north-eastern Syria, clashes broke out in Qamishli city on 20 April between pro-government and Kurdish-led forces, displacing some 15-20,000 people. WFP is distributing emergency food assistance to displaced families.

  • The Central Bank of Syria officially devalued the Syrian pound (SYP) for the first time since July 2020, from SYP 1,256 to SYP 2,512 to the US dollar.

  • WFP food security data from April indicate that two out of five surveyed households (43 percent) reported poor food consumption in April 2021, more than double the level recorded in April 2020.

  • In response to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Syria, the Ministry of Education announced the early end of the school year as of 05 April. WFP in-school School Feeding programme has since been suspended as a result.

Situation Update

Economic situation

  • The economic situation in Syria continued to deteriorate in April. The Central Bank of Syria on 15 April officially devalued the Syrian pound (SYP) from SYP 1,256 to SYP 2,512 to the US dollar. This is the first official devaluation of the Syrian pound since July 2020.

  • The value of the Syrian pound on the informal market stabilized somewhat in April at around SYP 3,000/USD 1, after dipping to a record low of SYP 4,700/USD 1 in midMarch. However, any potential impact of the currency value stabilization on food prices is yet to be seen. WFP continues to monitor food prices in markets across all areas of Syria on a monthly basis.
    Food Security Situation

  • The food security situation in Syria remains at critical levels, according to the latest WFP mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) data from April 201. While the national average rate of inadequate food consumption (poor and borderline combined) decreased by 16 percent from March to April 2021, it remains almost 50 percent higher than the national average level recorded in April 2020. More than two out of five interviewed households in Syria (43 percent) reported poor food consumption in April 2021, more than double the level recorded in April 2020.

  • The monthly decrease in inadequate food consumption levels in April is likely due to the observance of the holy month of Ramadan when families’ access to food improves as the community and charities increase their assistance to vulnerable families.

COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Approximately 60,082 COVID-19 cases and 2,770 deaths have been confirmed across all areas of Syria as of the end of April. This includes 22,513 cases and 1,572 deaths in government-controlled areas, 21,896 cases and 641 deaths in north-western Syria, and 15,673 cases and 557 deaths in north-eastern Syria.

  • The first batch of 203,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived in Damascus on 22 April. This first batch, allocated to Syria from the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), will be allocated to frontline health workers, including health workers in north-eastern Syria. In coordination with GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance), the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) are providing technical assistance to Syrian authorities in preparation to launch the national vaccination campaign. Simultaneously, a separate batch of 53,800 doses for north-western Syria has been shipped through the WHO and UNICEF offices in Gaziantep, Turkey.

North-Western Syria

  • The security situation in north-western Syria remained volatile in April, with fighting between government forces and non-state armed groups continued from multiple areas of southern Idlib and northe western Aleppo governorates.

  • In anticipation of the 10 July expiry of the Security Council resolution which authorizes cross-border operations, WFP in April started the pre-positioning of food rations. WFP plans to pre-position up to three months of stocks.

North-eastern Syria

  • On 20 April, clashes broke out in multiple neighborhoods of Qamishli city (Al-Hasakeh governorate) between the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) militia and Kurdish Internal Security Forces (ISF, also known as the Asayish). The clashes reportedly broke out following the arrest of an NDF commander by the ISF and lasted for several days until a ceasefire agreement came into effect on 24 April. According to the agreement, the NDF left the Tai neighborhood of Qamishli city (which was heavily impacted by the clashes) leaving it under the control of the ISF.

  • Following the fighting, WFP’s cooperating partner reported the displacement of 15-20,000 people from Qamishli city to several villages in the rural Qamishli area. In response, WFP on 24 April initiated an immediate response through its cooperating partners, providing General Food Assistance (GFA) rations sufficient for 8,500 people. Distributions for the remaining IDPs will continue over the month of May. Other UN agencies, including UNHCR, have distributed NFI and WASH items.

Costal Syria

  • Severe fuel shortages continued to affect beneficiaries’ ability to reach WFP food and voucher distribution points as well as other services, due to the increasing prices of public transportation in the coastal governorates in April.
    Southern Syria

  • Fuel shortages continued to impact WFP operations, and as a result, WFP was unable to complete dispatches of GFA food rations to some 13,500 people in Dar’a and Damascus under the April dispatch cycle. WFP extended the April dispatch cycle to allow for the completion of all planned dispatches.