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Emergency Response to the Drought in the North-East of Syria



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This budget revision is modified as BR 7(see below) from 1 July to 31 October 2011.

North-East Syria has been hit by a third consecutive year of drought, the effects of which are further exacerbated by the impact of the high food and fuel prices and the global financial crisis, which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the communities’ resilience capacity. This EMOP is a continuation of WFP assistance to these communities, targeting the most vulnerable.

According to the Government of Syria and two UN assessment missions in 2009, the rural population directly affected by the drought has lost almost all sources of livelihood and faces extreme hardship. Up to 80 percent of those severely affected live mostly on a diet of bread and sugared tea, not enough to cover both caloric and protein daily needs required to pursue a healthy life. Direct consequences of the drought include decreased food intake, reduced capacity to restore livelihoods, massive internal displacement towards urban centres and alarming school drop-out rates in some areas. Those affected cannot sustain or restore their livelihoods without emergency food assistance, coupled with other assistance such as potable water, farming inputs and animal feed.

In view of the rising food insecurity and exhausted coping mechanisms of an already structurally poor population, the Joint UN Needs Assessment Mission (JNAM) recommended immediate assistance to the most affected rural population in three governorates in the northeastern region: Al-Hasakeh, Al-Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

In August 2009, in response to this crisis and following the Government’s request, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) prepared the UN Syria Drought Response Plan (SDRP) aimed at addressing emergency humanitarian needs and reducing the impact of the drought on the most vulnerable 300,000 of the 800,000 severely affected people. In line with this Response Plan, the UNCT is planning a fully coordinated response. Assistance for the remaining 500,000 severely affected drought victims is being provided by the Syrian Government.

WFP will provide emergency food assistance to the most vulnerable small-scale farmer and herder households with the aim of preventing a further reduction in the quantity (number of meals) and quality (food diversity) of food consumption in the targeted areas, as well as decreasing and preventing the morbidity and mortality associated with acute malnutrition.

WFP in coordination with other UN agencies will gradually introduce supplementary feeding with fortified food targeted at the most vulnerable groups of children under five as well as pregnant and lactating women.

The EMOP will be implemented in line with the Syrian Government’s crisis management response and the development framework for the drought-affected disadvantaged northeastern region.

The EMOP will address WFP Strategic Objectives (SO) 1 – to save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies and SO 5 – to strengthen the capacities of countries to reduce hunger, including through hand-over strategies and local purchase. It will also contribute to achieving Millennium Development Goal 1 – to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

Upon completion of the EMOP, and subject to the confirmation of needs, WFP would consider supporting livelihood recovery activities through a smaller scale follow-up operation aimed at building drought resilience in affected communities.

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