UN resumes food aid to Syrians after $80m push

The WFP had been forced to suspend food aid in December, citing a $64m funding shortfall following nearly four years of conflict in Syria

The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) has resumed food aid to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries after raising more than $80m during a three-day social media campaign.

Some 1.7 million refugees in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt will have their electronic food vouchers topped up in December, enabling them to buy food in local stores.

The WFP was forced to suspend the programme at the beginning of December, citing a $64m funding shortfall following nearly four years of conflict in Syria.

“This outpouring of support in such a short time is unprecedented,” said WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin. “We’re especially grateful to the many individual members of the public who reached into their own pockets to send whatever they could to help Syrian refugees who have lost everything.”

The agency’s campaign, #ADollarALifeline, urged members of the public to donate $1 and prompted a surge of pledges from the public, businesses and donor countries.

Its success, which saw WFP exceed its funding target by $16m, showed “even as little as a dollar can make a difference”, the agency said.

WFP in August reported it needed to raise $35m every week to meet the food needs of families displaced within Syria and those that had fled the country.

There are more than 3.3 million Syrians sheltering in neighbouring countries, according to the latest figures from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. At the beginning of December, just over half of the agency’s funding requirements for the year had been met.    

Photo credit: WFP/Alessandro Pavone