The World Food Program says a funding crisis is forcing it to suspend a food voucher program for nearly 2 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.
“A suspension of WFP food assistance will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability and insecurity in the neighboring host countries,” WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said in a statement on the Rome-based organization’s website. “The suspension of WFP food assistance will be disastrous for many already suffering families.”
More than 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt were using the WFP’s vouchers to buy food in local shops.
In all, the violence in Syria, which began in 2011, has created a humanitarian crisis and more than 3 million refugees. Another 6.5 million Syrians have been internally displaced by the fighting pitting President Bashar Assad’s forces against a coalition of rebel groups, both moderate and Islamist.