Newsweek reports: As civil war in Syria inches toward its four-year anniversary, the nation’s humanitarian catastrophe deepens. Some 7.6 million Syrians are now internally displaced, and another 3.3 million have fled to neighboring countries to avoid the complex three-way dogfight among Assad’s forces, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Syrian rebels.
In Lebanon the influx of one million refugees is straining the capacities of a country of only 4.4 million. Today, some 12.2 million Syrians, both inside and outside Syria, rely on emergency food aid.
It thus came as a shock when the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) announced on December 1 that a lack of funds was forcing it to suspend aid to help feed and clothe Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. In fact, the WFP had been signaling for months that its program for Syria was in dire need of a cash injection from international donors.
Last week, the United States donated $125 million to prop up the program until the end of the year, but it clearly wasn’t enough. The WFP stated that it needed an additional $64 million for December alone to support its system of prepaid voucher cards, which can be used at local stores to buy food and supplies.
Without this lifeline, refugees will face the impending harsh winter without food, warm clothes, or heat. [Continue reading…]