U.N. warns of food problems in Syria

Jan. 8, 2013 at 5:11 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The United Nations food program is not reaching at least one million people in Syria at risk of hunger, an official said Tuesday.

Elizabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program, said the agency is unable to increase its outreach because of a shortfall in donations. She said increased danger because of the ongoing fighting between the government of President Bashar Assad and rebels has also forced the WFP to shut down several regional offices in Syria.

At a news conference in Geneva, Byrs said that the agency is reaching about 1.5 million people a month in Syria. She said about 2.5 million are believed to be in need of food aid with a total of 4 million needing some form of humanitarian assistance.

Byrs said the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the WFP's major partner, is also overstretched.

Fighting Tuesday left 115 people dead across Syria, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported. Most of the deaths were in Idlib and Damascas and its suburbs.

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