UN agency resumes food voucher programme for Syrian refugees

United Nations, Dec 10 (IANS) The World Food Programme( WFP) announced Tuesday that it is resuming food assistance to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, a UN spokesman told reporters here.

“By mid-December, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, as well as Egypt, will have their electronic food vouchers, also known as e-cards, which will be uploaded with an average amount of $30 for each family member, so that they can immediately use them to buy food from local shops,” Xinhua quoted UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

“After suspending food aid to nearly 1.7 million Syrian refugees Dec 1, WFP launched an ambitious social media fundraising campaign, using the hashtag “ADollarALifeline” that raised millions from individuals, the private sector and governments,” Dujarric said. Almost 14,000 individuals and private sector donors in 158 countries contributed $1.8 million, the spokesman noted.

“As a result of the campaign, WFP has to date raised more than $80 million, including contributions from governments, surpassing the total goal of $64 million,” he said. The conflict in Syria, which broke out in March 2011, has led to well over 150,000 deaths, with more than 680,000 people injured. At least 10.8 million people are in need of assistance inside Syria, including at least 6.5 million who are internally displaced.

The violence has also spawned a refugee crisis flooding neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.