12.4m people food insecure in war-torn Syria: WFP

Beirut: A record 12.4 million people in war-torn Syria are struggling to find enough food to eat, the UN food agency has said, in an increase it described Saturday as “alarming”.

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The figure means “60 per cent of the Syrian population are now food insecure”, the World Food Programme said, based on results of a nationwide assessment in late 2020.

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It marks a sharp increase from 9.3 million people who were food insecure in May last year.

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“More Syrians are slipping deeper into hunger, poverty and food insecurity than ever before,” WFP spokeswoman Jessica Lawson told AFP.

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“It is alarming that a basic meal is now beyond the reach of the majority of families.”

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Syria’s almost ten-year-old war has ravaged the economy and sent inflation soaring across the country.

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In early 2021, food prices nationwide were 33 times higher than the five-year pre-war average, WFP says.

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A dire financial crisis in neighbouring Lebanon that has slowed dollar inflows and lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have further increased economic woes.

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“The economic situation in Syria is putting immense pressure on families who have nothing left after years of conflict and many depend entirely on humanitarian assistance to survive,” Lawson said.

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The Syrian conflict has killed more than 387,000 people and displaced millions more from their homes since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

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