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UN warns of critical food shortage in Syria's East Ghouta

Turkey distributes humanitarian aid in Al-Bab town of Aleppo, Syria on 26 October 2017 [Jawad al Rifai/Anadolu Agency

Food supplies have dropped to critical levels in Eastern Ghouta in Syria, the UN World Food Programme warned Tuesday.

"The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) delivered last [Monday] night urgently needed food assistance to support tens of thousands of Syrians living in extremely difficult conditions in Eastern Ghouta, a besieged area on the outskirts of the Syrian capital," WFP said in a statement.

Noting that food supplies have dropped to critical levels in the area, WFP said: "There was less access for humanitarian groups this year compared to the previous year and the only entry point to the besieged enclave, the Al-Wafideen checkpoint, was fully closed.

This has led the price of basic food to double since this entry point was closed last month.

The agency said that a humanitarian convoy of 49 trucks carrying food rations for 40,000 people in the areas of Kafr Batna and Saqba as well as specialized nutrition products for nearly 13,000 children reached Eastern Ghouta on Monday night, and more aid had been planned in the coming days.

The last time WFP reached Eastern Ghouta was on 23 September, delivering food assistance to 25,000 people in the besieged towns of East Harasta, Misraba and Modira, the statement said, adding WFP was able to deliver food and nutritional assistance to nearly 110,000 people out of 400,000 people in need through six convoys so far in 2017.

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"WFP appeals for unconditional and safe access to the millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance across the country, no matter where they are," it added.

According to the statement, there are 3 million people living in hard-to-reach areas in Syria, including 420,000 people in 10 besieged areas. The vast majority are in Eastern Ghouta and face severe problems in getting enough food.

This year, WFP has provided food for a total of 1.45 million people in these locations.

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International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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