Funding shortfall threatens
UN food aid for Syrians

AMMAN - The United Nations warned Thursday that the food aid it provides to nearly six million war-affected Syrians is under imminent threat because of a shortfall in funding.


The World Food Program said it will be forced to cut the size of food rations it provides to needy families inside Syria and the number of refugees it supports in neighboring countries if donor countries do not provide additional funds in the next few days.


"We have reached a critical point in our humanitarian response in Syria and in neighboring countries," said the UN agency's regional emergency coordinator for the Syrian crisis, Muhannad Hadi.


"Unless we manage to secure significant funding in the next few days, I am afraid we will have no choice but to scale back our operation."


The WFP said it requires $352 million for its operations inside and outside Syria until the end of the year.


Inside Syria, existing funds are sufficient to provide only a reduced food parcel in October, which will then have to be further cut in November. There are no funds at all for December.


In Turkey, as many as 170,000 refugees may go without assistance in October. 


In Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon assistance will be reduced, while in Egypt, only the most vulnerable will be assisted, unless fresh funds are received, the WFP said.