MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – The United Nations will have to cut food supplies to Syria by 40 percent in October due to a funding shortage, Reuters reported.
"In October, WFP [the UN World Food Programme] will be able to deliver 60 percent of what they have been delivering. In November it will be down to 40 percent," John Ging, director of operations at the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters Wednesday in Geneva after attending an unannounced meeting on humanitarian aid to Syria.
"It is because the money is not coming in. This is devastating news for people who are aid-dependent," Ging added, noting that more aid is needed as winter approaches.
"So we will find humanitarian agencies cutting down on aid deliveries when aid is needed more than ever," Ging said. "It is not just food, it is vital shelter material, clothing and supplies for water and sanitation."
The expert noted that the WFP needs $56 million to avoid cuts in food assistance in Syria's neighboring countries, so it is highly likely that the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, will not get the necessary assistance.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) states some 3 million Syrian refugees have registered in Syria's neighboring countries. The highest concentrations of refugees are found in in Lebanon (1.17 million), Turkey (830,000) and Jordan (613,000), according to UNHCR. Some 215,000 are staying in Iraq. A considerable part of the population remains trapped in Syria and is experiencing difficulties reaching open border crossings.
Syria is currently battling the Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has been fighting against the Syrian government since 2012. In June, IS militants started launching attacks in Iraq, announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on all the territories under its control in both countries and forcing thousands of people, mostly religious minorities, to flee.