Syria now stands as the second-worst affected nation by food insecurity globally according to a joint report by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The report paints a grim picture of the hunger crisis in Syria, with a staggering 12.1 million people, constituting around 55 percent of the country’s population, struggling to access adequate food.
Food insecurity is affecting every region in the country, including Damascus, Turkish-controlled regions and coastal areas. The report identifies several key factors driving the crisis, which include a prolonged economic downturn, the devastating 6 February earthquakes, ongoing conflict, and unpredictable rainfall patterns.
These factors have severely disrupted crop production, with fuel shortages and drought exacerbating the situation. The devaluation of the Syrian pound has further exacerbated the problem, making food even less affordable.
The report further predicts that the 2023 crop production will be hindered by a lack of affordable agricultural inputs, while certain regions may experience adverse effects from erratic rainfall between November 2022 and April 2023.
Highlighting the worsening situation, the report warns that acute food insecurity is likely to escalate further as economic conditions deteriorate and the impact of the earthquakes becomes more apparent. It states that around 5.9 million children and women will require urgent nutrition assistance in 2023, signifying an alarming 18 percent increase compared to the previous year.
To address this dire humanitarian crisis, the WFP and FAO have unveiled a comprehensive response plan for 2023, calling for $1.872 billion in funding. This crucial aid aims to address urgent food security needs and livelihood interventions throughout Syria.