Geneva, 12 Rabiul Awal 1435 / 14 January 2014 (MINA) – The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) delivered rations to a record 3.8 million people in Syria in December, remain out of reach, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The WFP expressed concern at reports of malnutrition in areas where fighting between government forces and rebel groups has entrapped civilians. The agency said children were especially vulnerable to starvation as the country’s three-year old civil war drags on.
“WFP is gravely concerned about people who live in areas under siege,” spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said at a news briefing in Geneva. “Their nutrition situation is expected to have deteriorated significantly,” Aljazeera.america reported quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
The organization has tried several times over the last few months to reach besieged areas in and around Damascus — especially Mouadamiya, Nashabiyeh, Douma, Harasta and Yarmouk — without success.
The U.N. agency, which distributed food supplies to 3.4 million people in November, aims to reach 4.25 million in January, despite winter weather.
In 2013, it brought 100,000 cubic meters of food into Syria, equivalent to 58 full jumbo jets, according to Byrs.
While the food crisis continues, there was a potential bright spot on Monday, when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Syria’s government and some oppositins may be willing to permit humanitarian aid to flow into the country, enforce local cease-fires and take other confidence-building measures in the civil war.
“We welcome all moves towards access for humanitarian workers, which is urgent. We have been seeking this for months if not years,” Byrs said.
The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and driven 2.3 million Syrian refugees abroad, according to the U.N. Another 4 million have been displaced inside Syria.
The fighting has in some cases overshadowed the battle against the government, and has complicated the humanitarian response in Syria.
The WFP needs to raise $35 million every week to meet the food needs of people both inside Syria and in neighboring countries, Byrs said.
While civilians suffer, the clashes continue between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and those opposed to him.
The Syrian government retook territory around the northern city of Aleppo, the military said on Tuesday, after two weeks of infighting that has weakened the insurgency.
Syria’s foreign ministry dismissed as “fantasy” statements by the pro-opposition Friends of Syria group — including Western and Gulf states — in Paris on Sunday that a peace talks should end his “despotic regime.” .(T/P04/P03/mirajnews.com )
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency ( MINA )