Middle East

Food prices have almost doubled: WFP

A man carries bags of bread next to people lining up at the only bakery serving the outskirts of Idlib province. (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra)

GENEVA: 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 Tuesday.

“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 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 was available on the black market at a 400-percent markup.

In a country where violence has already forced some 343,000 people into surrounding countries and 20,000 to Europe, the WFP lamented that it was unable to deliver aid everywhere.

The agency has provided around 1.4 million people across Syria with food aid since Sept. 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 al-Zor and Deraa, and areas of rural Damascus.

To date, the agency has received only $80 million of its $136 million appeal to help provide food to people inside Syria, she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 17, 2012, on page 8.




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