BEIRUT: A ship carrying 22,000 tons of U.S. wheat arrived to the Port of Beirut Tuesday where some of it will be milled into flour and distributed to Syria, officials at the World Food Program said.
The wheat shipment, expected to feed over 3.5 million Syrians for one month, is part of the United Nation’s emergency food assistance operation for Syrians.
It’s the second ship to bring U.S. wheat for WFP’s work in Syria in less than six months.
According to a statement issued by the organization, the MV Mathawee Naree offloaded 7,000 tons in Beirut and then sailed to the Turkish port of Mersin to offload the rest.
Laure Chadraoui, a WFP representative in Beirut, said the 7,000 tons of wheat will be milled into flour in several milling factories in Lebanon that the organization deals with regularly.
“This wheat will then be distributed in Syria ... given the shortage of food, high prices and the lack of a functioning market,” Chadraoui told The Daily Star.
She added that the Syrian areas most hit by the shortage of bread are rural Damascus, Aleppo, some spots in rural Homs, and some parts of Idlib.
The wheat flour will then be transported by road in a number of trucks inside Syria, Chadraoui said, adding that such a shipment is in addition to other food items such as salt and canned food supplied to the war-stricken country.
The statement said that WFP is providing the wheat flour to working bakeries in urban areas whereas in Aleppo and Idleb the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) is distributing bread produced with WFP wheat flour in selected bakeries to displaced families and other needy people.
“In rural areas, WFP distributes flour directly to families who are able to bake their own bread at home,” it said.
The new wheat donation, worth more than $15 million, is part of the $270 million overall contribution of the U.S. Government to WFP’s Syria emergency operation to assist vulnerable families in Syria and refugees in neighboring countries.