WFP aid restricted to more vulnerable Syrian refugees

TEHRAN, Sep. 04 (MNA) – A Cairo-based communications officer for the Middle East said WFP has reduced the number of people it assists in an effort to focus on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable refugees.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced last month that following a comprehensive assessment of the food security and vulnerability status of Syrian refugees living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, it will focus its resources on the most vulnerable people.

According to the new decision, some 50,000 previously assisted Syrian refugees will no longer receive WFP food assistance. These people have been advised of the decision by SMS messages and other means of communication.

WFP’s food voucher programme for Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries is the largest in the world, and is funded entirely by voluntary contributions. Nearly 1.6 million Syrian refugees, spread across five countries in the region, are assisted through WFP food vouchers every month.

In an interview with Mehr News, Dina El-Kassaby, a WFP Communications Officer, answers the questions on the issue:

What challenges do Syrian refugees face in neighboring countries, including Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI)?

Living in refuge is difficult across the region for Syrians. Many are finding challenges to meet their daily needs and to find employment especially as levels of humanitarian assistance have decreased. Some refugees have resorted to begging and borrowing money to help them afford to pay for essentials like food and health care.

WFP’s assessments have shown that while some families have the resources to meet their needs, there are many Syrian families in KRI who still need continued assistance, so WFP has reduced the number of people it assists in an effort to focus on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable refugees. These decisions have been taken based on a comprehensive interagency vulnerability assessment that measures the general food security and living situation of refugees.


What is WFP’s plan to provide food for the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in KRI?

The assessment WFP conducted found that food insecurity was not a major problem faced by refugees in camps in KRI, due to the fact that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is the only place in the region where refugees can hold work permits, allowing them to earn money to meet their families’ food needs.

The assessments found that 85 percent of Syrian refugees in Iraq have an external source of income. Based on this, WFP has stopped providing assistance to some 50,000 refugees who are considered not in urgent need of assistance.

This will allow WFP to channel all available resources to over 48,000 refugees who still require support to meet their food needs. Among them, WFP will provide vouchers worth US$10 per person per month for over 47,000 moderately vulnerable refugees, while nearly 1,000 refugees considered the most vulnerable will continue to receive US$19 per person per month to meet their food needs. WFP and partners will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that nobody falls through the cracks.


Dina El-Kassaby, WFP Communications Officer has been working on the relief effort in Syria, including visiting hundreds of refugees and other people whose lives have been destroyed. She is a graduate student at the American University in Cairo, currently obtaining a dual master's degree in International Human Rights Law (M.A. IHRL) and Public Policy and Administration (M.P.P.A.). Alongside her graduate studies, Dina is interning at the United Nations World Food Programme in Cairo, Egypt. She is also a founding member of RYB-Egypt, a Canadian sustainable development NPO, and was an active member of human rights organizations in Canada throughout her undergraduate degree. Dina's research interests include issues pertaining to climate change and sustainable development law specifically, and human rights law and poverty eradication, environmental law and natural resource management, and governance and public policy generally. Dina is fluent in English and Arabic.


Interview by: Lachin Rezaian


News Code 109763


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