Syrians endure deepening food insecurity

Life without the necessary aid feels like "a slow death," he said in a voice tinged with sorrow, appealing that "we hope the aid returns."

1 min read
Hadia Kamel Kurdi, a mother of five who once benefited from years of aid, sits with her kids in the living room of their chubby house in Aleppo, Syria, Jan. 24, 2024. This family also faces reduced food assistance due to funding shortages by the WFP. (Photo by Monsef MemariXinhua)

The inability of the World Food Program (WFP) to sustain its food assistance to millions of Syrians plunged more struggling families into deeper hardship and despair.

Mohammed Ibrahim Hindawi, once a skilled tailor and a father of six, has been laid off following a debilitating injury sustained in the Saadallah Al-Jaberi Square explosion in Aleppo City in 2013.

With six mouths to feed, he had relied on aid to stave off hunger. However, with the lifeline of assistance severed, Hindawi faces an agonizing dilemma: how to feed himself or his children.

The man now does simple sewing work and has had three of his children drop out of school to work and help lead a life for the family.

His predicament comes as the WFP stated in December 2023 that it would stop its general food assistance program across Syria since the start of 2024 due to funding shortages.

The move brought a bad time for Syrians as the specter of hunger looms large in war-torn areas due to the suffocating economic crisis in the country.

During a recent visit by Xinhua to Aleppo, the cries for help were loud among the locals.

Hadia Kamel Kurdi, a mother of five used to benefit from a food box provided every month thanks to the WFP aid.

The box provided essential staples for her family, including rice, whole and crushed lentils, bulgur, pasta, canned beans, bottles of oil, salt, and sugar, and chickpeas, whole beans, or peas.

Now, with the aid cut off, she struggles to afford even the most basic needs and her children are forced to work to supplement the family income. Her children and husband make about an equivalent of 87 U.S. dollars per month, not enough to cover their rent and electricity bills.

The situation is similar for Hindawi and his children. Their family earns a monthly income of 135 dollars, less than their essential expenses, including food, rent, and medication for himself and his cancer patient wife, which amounted to 345 dollars.

Life without the necessary aid feels like “a slow death,” he said in a voice tinged with sorrow, appealing that “we hope the aid returns.”

Addressing the situation in a recent interview with Xinhua, Kenn Crossley, the WFP representative and country director in Syria, stressed the urgent need for continued support, highlighting the fragile and unstable nature of the situation.

“This is not the time to abandon the people of Syria,” he urged, calling upon the international community to rally together in support of those in need.

“The significant funding gap affected not only Syria but all of WFP operations worldwide,” he stressed.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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