Funding gap behind cuts in WFP food assistance to refugees

Two Syrian boys collect food for their family from a WFP food distribution center in the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan.
In this undated photo, two Syrian boys collect food for their family from a WFP food distribution center in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. (Photo: WFP)
AMMAN — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced that 21,000 Syrian refugees will no longer receive their monthly food assistance as of July following a prioritization exercise driven by a shortage of funds.اضافة اعلان

The organization said in a statement that recent contributions from donors have averted wide-scale cuts that would have affected a larger number of people, but resources still fall well short of meeting the needs of all vulnerable refugees in Jordan. WFP urgently needs $58 million to continue food assistance until the end of the year for the half million refugees it supports.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. We have to make some difficult choices to stretch the limited resources we have and ensure that we meet the needs of the most vulnerable refugees. These are families who cannot put food on the table without WFP assistance”, said Alberto Correia Mendes, WFP Representative and Country Director in Jordan.

“These are painful choices. What’s more, if we do not receive further contributions. we may find ourselves having to cut food assistance for another quarter of a million refugees living outside the camps by September.”

The cuts are coming at the worst time for families, the statement added, when many are struggling to earn money or have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent WFP survey revealed that 68 percent of the refugees have seen their income drop since the beginning of the pandemic.

Statistics provided by the organization depict an already grave situation for around 600,000 Syrians refugees registered in Jordan.

Food insecurity among refugees in Jordan, it said, has doubled in the last year to reach 25 percent. Two in three refugees – 64 percent – are on the edge of food insecurity.

Refugees living in Zaatari and Azraq camps and extremely vulnerable families living in local communities receive $32 (JD23) per person each month, while refugees living outside camps who are classified as vulnerable receive monthly assistance of $21 (JD15) per person.

"WFP urgently requires funding to continue assistance to vulnerable refugees, to stop families falling into further food insecurity and deeper poverty. WFP is working closely with partners including the Jordanian Government, donors, UN agencies and NGOs to raise the required funds."