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‘Living hand to mouth’: U.N. food fund for Syria runs dangerously low

A Syrian woman carries her children near a makeshift refugee camp near Afrin, on the Syria-Turkey border. (AFP)

A fund that helps feed Syrian refugees is running perilously low, the United Nations warned this week, with the problem worsening as thousands of people continue to leave the war-torn country.

The World Food Programme, the food-assistance branch of the U.N., called on countries in the Arabian Gulf to donate extra resources to help feed Syrian refugees.

The WFP spends around $18.5 million a week internationally feeding around two million people, the Financial Times reported. But Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the agency, told the newspaper the money is running out.

“We are borrowing money from other areas of the organization… We are living hand to mouth,” Cousin told the FT. “We cannot just depend on traditional donors such as the U.S. or the UK… We need the support of Gulf countries to ensure we can sustain the operation.”

While the Gulf countries have made substantial donations to the Syrian people, this is not always channeled through the U.N. system, the newspaper reported.

More than a million Syrians have been displaced since protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

Many live in refugee camps in neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Turkey, relying partly on international aid to survive.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 3 April 2013 KSA 10:21 - GMT 07:21
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