United Nations, Aug 14 (IANS) After a visit to Jordan and Lebanon, World Food Programme (WFP) executive director Ertharin Cousin has called upon the international community to continue to support Syrian refugees displaced in neighbouring countries.
Major funding shortfalls have forced WFP to cut its food assistance by up to 50 percent.
During her four-day visit, Cousin met Syrian refugees and government officials, bringing attention to the plight of millions of refugees facing extreme hardship as a result of these cuts, Xinhua quoted Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary general as saying.
The shortage of funds is hampering humanitarian and development assistance efforts to meet the needs of 3.9 million refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria, as well as more than 20 million people in affected local communities hosting them in neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“For people hurt by the war in Syria and refugees around the region, WFP food assistance provides stability. To provide this assistance, the World Food Programme relies on the generosity of the international community,” said Dujarric.
“Ms. Cousin said of the Syrians she had met, ‘We simply cannot let them down’,” said Dujarric.
The Syrian conflict began when nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad met with violent government crackdowns in 2011. Till now, it has been dragging on for over four years with no solution in sight.