Lebanon News

U.S. gives WFP Lebanon $20M to help refugees

A Syrian girl makes a snowman outside her tent at a refugee camp in al-Majdal village in the Bekaa Valley. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: The United States has given the World Food Program in Lebanon $20 million to continue supporting Syrian refugees. The WFP is running dangerously low on cash and was forced to make further cuts in refugees’ food aid last month.

Joelle Eid, a spokesperson for the WFP, said that program officers had not yet determined how exactly the new $20 million would be distributed among refugees in Lebanon over the coming months. “Our aim is to stretch out the funds as far as possible,” Eid said. She added that every registered refugee in Lebanon would receive $13.50 in August.

Prior to last January, each refugee received $27 per month from the WFP, but a funding crunch required the agency to limit that amount to $19. With assistance dropping to $13.50 since July, Eid warned that refugees were facing the possibility of food insecurity. “What we’re giving is still not enough for people to lead stable food secure lives.”

The $20 million for Lebanon is part of a $65 million aid package, which the U.S. announced earlier this week, that will fund WFP’s operations in Syria and across the region.

In a press release announcing the new U.S. funding Friday, WFP insisted that its regional operations were in desperate need of new donations.

“While some positive indications have been received from other donors, WFP’s regional refugee operation is severely underfunded and immediately needs $168 million to continue to support desperate refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq through October,” read the press release.

While the donation from the U.S. “will help us get by for a few months,” Eid confirmed that the WFP still needed funding to provide for Syrian refugees in Lebanon in the coming months. “Alone, [the U.S. donation] is not enough,” she said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 01, 2015, on page 4.

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