The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said that it is reaching close to 3.3 million people in Syria – a record for its operations – but many are still without food in areas cut off by fighting, particularly in Damascus and the capital’s besieged suburbs.
“WFP is concerned about the fate of many Syrians trapped in conflict areas and still in need of urgent food assistance,” spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told journalists in Geneva.
“Some 3.3 million has reached in October, but the overall target for WFP for the entire Syria was to reach four million people by the end of December 2013,” the spokesperson added.
Damascus and Rural Damascus remain one of WFP’s biggest challenges due to insecurity and the siege in many conflict areas, said Mr. Byrnes.
People are still trapped in Moadamiyeh, she noted, but the UN agency has not been able to enter the area.
“WFP and UN partners had made nine unsuccessful attempts to reach Moadamiyeh and could not confirm what exactly was happening in that area,” the spokesperson said.
These are some of the most deprived areas where “even the most basic items were in scarce supply”, the spokesperson noted.
More than a dozen trucks with supplies are en route to the capital Aleppo, carrying enough food for 75,000 people as part of the Governorate’s October allocation.
Despite the allocations, the city is one of the Governorates where food distribution has become difficult in recent months.
More children are being admitted to hospitals with acute and moderate malnutrition, the UN Children’s Fund said, also addressing the press.
“The most difficult challenge in helping those children was access,” said UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado.
The community is also grabbling with a lack of skilled professionals to deal with malnutrition.
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The UK government will match pound for pound all public donations to UNICEF’s Syria appeal, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today. The boost comes through the government’s Aid Match system and will double the charity’s ability to help children caught up in the crisis.
This is the first charity partnership in a major new initiative from the government that will provide critical support to charities working to reach Syrian children who are suffering as a result of the war.
The initiative is intended to recognise the level of concern from the British public about the millions of children now in desperate need of help by matching the generous public response to charity appeals.
A series of further match funding initiatives which could provide tens of millions of pounds in new support will be agreed and announced in the run up to Christmas to help the children of Syria cope with the onset of winter and the trauma of conflict.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
Syria’s people are experiencing unimaginable hardship with millions of children in particular facing a bleak and uncertain future.
The UK has already committed its largest ever humanitarian response to the crisis and we are now teaming up with UNICEF to double the power of donations from the British public.
Our partnership with UNICEF means that donations to UNICEF’s appeal for the children of Syria will be matched pound for pound by the UK government.
UNICEF UK Ambassador Jemima Khan, who will be co-hosting UNICEF’s Halloween Ball fundraiser tonight, said:
For over two years, the children of Syria have been witnessing and experiencing one horror after another. I have seen UNICEF’s work in emergencies all over the World. They work tirelessly to reach every child, but they cannot do it alone and the need has never been so urgent, particularly with winter approaching.
We hope to raise vital funds at The Halloween Ball this evening for the children of Syria and I am very grateful to the UK government who have pledged to match pound for pound everything we raise.
Over four million children’s lives have been affected by the Syria crisis with over a million of them forced to become refugees. More than a million Syrian children are unable to access basic education and more than 5,000 schools have been destroyed or damaged.
Match funding will mean UNICEF can provide potentially life-saving assistance to thousands more children both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, where they have fled the continuing fighting.
As well as clean drinking water, food, vaccinations and medical support, match funding will support UNICEF’s work to provide education and trauma counselling for children who have been exposed to the horrors of the conflict.
Today’s announcement comes ahead of UNICEF’s Halloween Ball this evening, which will welcome up to 400 guests from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and business in order to raise vitally needed funds for the children of Syria. All public donations made for UNICEF’s work in Syria at the ball and over the following three months will be matched by the government under this agreement.
The new Syria match funding initiative will support a range of work from charities operating inside Syria and across the region. This could include basic equipment for temporary schools, paying teachers, heating in the harsh winter, helping children get out of hard and exploitative work and preventing girls from being trafficked, as well as supporting programmes that aim to keep children warm and safe during winter months.
Notes to editors
- The UK has committed £500 million to the Syria crisis, its largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.
- The new Syria match funding initiative will run alongside the UK’s existing aid match programme. This matches public donations to charity appeals for organisations working around the world with funding from the international development budget. A total of £120 million will be available for UK Aid Match over the next three years.
- Last month Justine Greening announced that the UK will be providing desperately needed help including counselling and education to help prevent an entire lost generation of Syrian children. Establishing match funding partnerships with UNICEF and other British charities helping Syria’s children is a key part of this initiative.
- UNICEF is the world’s leading children’s organisation. It works with families, local communities and governments in more than 190 countries to save and change children’s lives.
For full details of the UK’s humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, please visit: Syria Crisis: Latest updates on UK aid.
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