Close to 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon,
Turkey, Iraq and Egypt are facing a disastrous and hungry winter after a
financial crisis compelled the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) to
suspend food vouchers to hundreds of thousands forced into exile by the
The UN's initiative allows refugees to buy food in local
The WFP has brought food to millions of Syrians inside the
country since the war began in March 2011, and has utilized the voucher
programme to provide countries hosting the refugees with a financial support of
But after finding itself unable to generate the $64m it
needs to help Syrian refugees in December, the UN body announced that it was
halting the food scheme.
Critical funding shortfalls have already led the UN to
reduce rations within Syria, where it is trying to help 4.25 million people.
Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the programme, issued
an urgent appeal to donors, asking them to honour their commitments and warning
that the suspension would have a destructive effect on the lives of more than
1.7 million people.
She said: "The suspension will endanger the health and
safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions,
instability and insecurity in the neighbouring host countries. The suspension
of WFP food assistance will be disastrous for many already suffering families."