Syria + 2 more

World Food Programme chief pledges to continue support for displaced Syrians

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS/AMMAN – The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, has ended a three-day visit to Lebanon, Syria and Jordan where he saw WFP operations in the three countries and met with displaced Syrian families in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, Eastern Ghouta in Syria and Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

Beasley also met ministers and officials in the three countries to discuss WFP’s work in support of those affected by the Syria crisis. He acknowledged that the conflict has taken a toll on the economies of the three countries and has eroded the livelihoods of millions of people who need continued support to feed their families.

“It was heart-breaking to see families returning to what is left of their homes - often without windows or even walls,” he said. “I was inspired by their resilience and determination, but seven years of war have pushed millions of people into extreme poverty and hunger. They still need our support and we will to continue to help them until they are able to help themselves.”

Syrians returning to their country and communities need functioning markets, jobs and support. In Lebanon and Jordan, Beasley heard from vulnerable refugees who have been away from their home country for almost a decade. In addition to providing a lifeline of food assistance, WFP is helping Syrians and host communities to produce their own food and generate an income through livelihoods initiatives.

“Our work here aims to help people eat every day, while boosting local economies,” Beasley added.

WFP is providing food assistance to more than 6 million displaced Syrians, both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, through the distribution of monthly food rations, electronic food vouchers, livelihood programmes or cash assistance. The UN food agency needs US$136 million to maintain its lifesaving support for Syrians impacted by the crisis during the next six months.

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The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

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For more information please contact (email address:
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +201066634352
Bettina Luescher, WFP/Berlin, Mob. + 4916099261730
Francis Mwanza, WFP/London, Tel. +44 (0)20 3857 7411
David Orr, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 3402466831
Steve Taravella, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-556-6909, Mob. +1-202-770-5993
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Washington DC, Tel. +1-202-653-1149, Mob. +1-202-774-4026