U.N. warns of worsening humanitarian situation in Syria

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Two years into the conflict, the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, a spokesperson of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday.

This time we’re issuing a warning. If the violence continues unabated, we could, in the short term see considerably more than the current four million people in need of assistance, and more than the currently estimate of two million internally-displaced,” spokesman Jens Laerke stated.

In order to ensure that the assistance delivered by U.N. agencies reaches more people, agencies are expanding their local partnerships from the current 70 organizations, and continue to urge the Syrian government to allow more international NGOs into the country, according to reports.

The shrinking economy in Syria is also affecting people’s life.

According to the Economic And Social Commission For Western Asia (ESCWA), Syria’s GDP dropped by 30 percent in the past two years, and its agriculture suffered plethora of effects from the continuing conflict.

Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Syria’s barley and wheat output was less than two million tons in 2012, only half of that of the years previously, before the conflict broke out.

Elisabeth Byrs, a spokesperson with the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), told press on the same day that the WFP was scaling up its food aid operations in Syria to reach 2.5 million vulnerable Syrians by April.

WFP has been reaching up to 1.5 million people with emergency food assistance since September 2012, Byrs said.

“In February, we hope to scale up our operation, and we hope to reach 1.75 million people, and step by step, gradually, we will-we hope to reach two million people in March and 2.5 million vulnerable Syrians by April” said Byrs.

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