UN unable to feed 1 million hungry Syrians

The agency and its partners overstretched and facing security risks


Associated Press
January 8, 2013 5:43PM (UTC)

GENEVA (AP) -- The World Food Program said Tuesday it is unable to help 1 million Syrians who are going hungry.

This month, the agency aims to help 1.5 million of the 2.5 million Syrians that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent says need it, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.

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The lack of security and the agency's inability to use the Syrian port of Tartous for its shipment means that a large number of people in the some of the country's hardest hit areas will not get help, she said.

"Our main partner, the Red Cross, is overstretched and has no more capacity to expand further," Byrs said.

She also said that the agency has temporarily pulled its staff out of its offices in the Syrian cities of Homs, Aleppo, Tartous and Qamisly due to the rising dangers in those areas.

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But in December, WFP was able to reach for the first time in many months some hard-to-reach areas near the Turkish border, she said.

The Syria crisis began with peaceful protests in March 2011 but has since shifted into a civil war. At least 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to a recent U.N. estimate.

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