Queuing in a cage for bread in Damascus, Syria, October 2020
The UN World Food Programme has raised the number of “food insecure” Syrians to 12.4 million — almost 60% of the population.
The total is an increase of 4.5 million people in just over a year.
The WFP said that the threat has been accentuated by economic collapse, job losses, Coronavirus, and soaring food prices, adding to the displacement of more than 11 million Syrians during a 10-year conflict.
The number of Syrians who are “severely food insecure” has doubled in a year to 1.3 million, with another 1.8 million at risk.
The WFP’s representative in Syria, Sean O’Brien, summarized:
The situation has never been worse. After ten years of conflict, Syrian families have exhausted their savings as they face a spiralling economic crisis….
It is alarming that a simple meal is beyond the reach of families across Syria.
The WFP estimates that basics such as bread, rice, lentils, cooking oil, and sugar cost at least 120,000 Syrian Pounds per month, far in excess of the average salary. Prices have increased by 236% in a year, with cooking oil rising by 400% and bread soaring by 247%. About half of Syrians have lost one or more sources of income because of economic crisis and the Coronavirus pandemic.
Amid the inflation, 83% of Syrians are living below the poverty line. Amid shortages of food, electricity, and heating, the Assad regime is unable to provide even reduced quotas of bread, as people wait hours for a subsidized pack.