In July the SOYMB blog reported on the UN relief organisations cutting back on rations issued to refugees in and around Syria. There has been little change, apparently in the shortages, despite the increased attention the plight of refugees are receiving. With conditions in the host countries worsening, thousands of Syrian refugees have been trying to reach Europe.
Abeer Etefa, a WFP regional spokeswoman, said the world must do more to support refugees in the regional host countries or face increasing migration.
“This is a crisis that has been brewing in the region for five years,” she said. “Now it is getting the attention of the world because it moved one step further from the region to Europe. We have to help people where they are or they will move. Since the beginning of this operation it has been hand to mouth. It is nerve-wracking for the refugees and the staff.”
Since the beginning of the year, the agency reduced the number of voucher recipients in regional host countries from 2.1 million to around 1.4 million and sharply reduced the value of the vouchers. The maximum is now $14 per person per month for urban refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. The cash-strapped World Food Programme has had to drop one-third of Syrian refugees from its food voucher program in Middle Eastern host countries this year, including 229,000 in Jordan who stopped receiving food aid in September.