Four million Syrians starving — FAO, WFP

Wafa, her husband and 2-year-old daughter share a meal bought with food vouchers given by the World Food Program. Up to four million Syrians now experience food insecurity brought about by the decline in agricultural production in the country. Photo by: Rein Skullerud / WFP / CC BY-NC-ND

Up to four million Syrians are now unable to produce or buy enough food after the domestic agricultural production declined over the past year and stands to deteriorate even further if the conflict continues, two U.N. agencies warned on Friday.

“With so many adverse factors now stacked against the crop and livestock sectors, and assuming that the present crisis remains unresolved, domestic production over the next twelve months will be severely compromised,” said a joint statement from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program issued after a team of experts assessed the food security situation in May and June.

A fifth of the country’s population is starving, and FAO so far has only received $3.3 million of the $41.7 million the U.N. agency requested to continue its operations in Syria, while WFP needs at least $27 million a week.

FAO and WFP stressed that the money must arrive by August so they can save this year’s harvest and not have to wait until 2015. The possibility of importing 1.5 million tons of wheat — both agencies insisted — is very real, as domestic output has dropped 40 percent since the conflict started three years ago, doubling the price of flour.

Livestock has also declined, up to 50 percent in the case of poultry, machinery has been damaged and farmers are scared to return to their plots due to the violence.

WFP announced in June that growing numbers of Syrians have been forced to beg on the streets for food.

And the situation can only get even worse if the conflict continues, the U.N. agencies said: “With so many adverse factors now stacked against the crop and livestock sectors, and assuming that the present crisis remains unresolved, domestic production over the next twelve months will be severely compromised.”

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Carlos stamaria 400x400 v2

    Carlos Santamaria

    As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

Join the Discussion