The agency voiced concern at reports of malnutrition in besieged
areas, especially of children caught up in the nearly three-year-old
civil war, and called for greater access.
"WFP is gravely concerned about people who live in areas under
siege. Their nutrition situation is expected to have deteriorated
significantly," spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told a news briefing in
The organization has tried several times over the last few months to
reach besieged areas in and around Damascus — especially Mouadamiya,
Nashabiyeh, Douma, Harasta and Yarmouk — without success.
"We are quite concerned about malnutrition of children, especially
in those besieged areas," she said.
Fighting in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor also prevented aid convoys from
reaching people in those eastern provinces for the second
consecutive month, Byrs said.
The United Nations agency, which distributed food supplies to 3.4
million people in November, aims to reach 4.25 million in January,
despite winter weather.
In 2013, it brought 100,000 cubic meters of food into Syria. "That
is equivalent to 58 jumbo planes," Byrs said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday after talks with
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Syria's government and
some rebels may be willing to permit humanitarian aid to flow,
enforce local ceasefires and take other confidence-building measures
in the civil war.
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"We welcome all moves towards access for humanitarian workers, which
is urgent. We have been seeking this for months if not years," Byrs
The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and driven 2.3
million Syrian refugees abroad, according to the United Nations.
Another 4 million have been displaced inside Syria.
The WFP needs to raise $35 million every week to meet the food needs
of people both inside Syria and in neighboring countries, Byrs said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Elizabeth Piper)
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