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Looming drought in Syria may leave 6.5 million people in need of food aid — UN

April 08, 2014, 16:11 UTC+3
The World Food Program experts forecast the wheat harvest to stand at 1.7-2 million tons this year, while an estimated 5.1 million tons is needed for domestic consumption
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© ITAR-TASS/EPA/SANA HANDOUT

GENEVA, April 08. /ITAR-TASS/. The United Nations is concerned about a drought that threatens Syria’s north-west, as it can bring the number of people in need of emergency food aid to 6.5 million.

Spokeswoman for the United Nations World Food Program (WPF) Elisabeth Byrs said that the rains have been scarce since September, and it could have a considerable impact on the wheat harvest due to start in May.

The WFP spokeswoman added that only one month is left before the rain season ends in the region, so there is little hope the situation will improve. The looming drought will mostly hit farmers in the north-west of the country, in provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama, which produce half of Syria’s wheat.

The last time that Syria suffered from severe drought occurred in 2008. WPF experts forecast the wheat harvest to stand at 1.7-2 million tons this year, while an estimated 5.1 million tons is needed for domestic consumption.

Byrs said that up to 6.5 million people in Syria could face food shortages and would depend on international assistance to survive. This means that the WFP will have to double the distribution of food aid in Syria, which already amounts to $41 million weekly. In April, the organization plans to provide food assistance for 4.25 million of Syrians.

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