Food price doubled in Syria: UN

Food price doubled in Syria: UN

Prices for basic provisions have nearly doubled in Syria and the U.N. food agency failed to deliver essential food supplies to 100,000 people last month because of the fighting, it said yesterday.

“We can see that with the increasing violence in some areas, (food) prices have kept going up since the start of the fighting,” World Food Program (WFP) spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva. In areas of fighting, “food prices are reported to have almost doubled,” the agency said in a statement, adding that scarce cooking gas now was available on the black market at a 400-percent mark-up.

The agency has provided around 1.4 million people across Syria with food aid since September 9, Byrs said, hailing the “heroic effort” of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which distributed the provisions on the WFP’s behalf. But the agency was still 100,000 people short of its 1.5 million target, she said, pointing out that the distribution efforts had been complicated by intensifying fighting in Aleppo, parts of Homs, Deir ez-Zor and Daraa, and areas of rural Damascus.

Food card system in Turkey

To date, the agency has received only $80 million of its $136 million appeal to help provide food to people inside Syria, she said. Byrs also announced the launch of a food card system in Turkey to allow Syrians to buy and cook their own food. Each card carries the equivalent of $45, enough to pay for a well-balanced diet of at least 2,100 calories per day for a month, the WFP said.

Countries surrounding Syria currently shelter 343,871 Syrians, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) meanwhile said, adding though that the number of Syrian asylum-seekers reaching the European Union “remained small.”