Food security in parts of Syria is slightly better than the same time last year due to an improved security situation and enhanced access to humanitarian assistance, but the overall situation remains far worse than before the war, two UN agencies warned.
The latest Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) estimates total wheat production at 1.8 million tonnes - 12 percent more than last year's record low but still less than half of the pre-conflict ten-year average.
The mission's report released today estimates that 6.9 million Syrians are still food insecure while an additional 5.6 million people are likely to become food insecure without the regular food assistance they receive every month.
"For some Syrian families, there is a small shaft of light in the darkness," said Adam Yao, Acting FAO Representative in Syria. "Despite the immense challenges, agriculture continues to provide food for the country. With the evolving security situation, more farmers are expected to have access to cultivate their land again. Now is the time to step up our support, as agriculture is more important than ever for the livelihoods of many."
"The small improvement in the availability of food for Syrians is promising, but the needs remain high. More must be done to provide food for families affected by the crisis," said Jakob Kern, WFP Representative and Country Director in Syria. "WFP and FAO are working together to make food security a reality for the people of Syria."
Access by humanitarian organizations to some besieged areas has improved compared to last year. Yet access continues to be heavily constrained in Deir-ez-Zor, where life-saving air-drops of food and other supplies continue, and in Ar-Raqqa where the situation has become critical due to continued fighting. In Ar-Raqqa, shops are destroyed and the cost of the standard food basket has jumped by 42 percent between May and June this year.