Saboura, RURAL DAMASCUS – The valley of Zabadani’s Saboura village is one of very few in rural Damascus that did not witness any clashes and became a refuge for many Syrians who were driven out of their areas by intense fighting. However, as a tourist destination and an area that has always attracted wealthy Syrians, Saboura is one of the most expensive places in Syria.
As tourism and wealth has waned in Syria, so have job opportunities in Saboura. Most internally displaced Syrians are jobless and their living conditions are quite basic. Most families have come from Moadamiyeh and Daraa that have seen some of the worst fighting in the past two years. With unemployment, penury and other woes, they are totally dependent on WFP food assistance.
In Saboura, WFP food assistance reaches beneficiaries at their doorsteps through WFP's partner NGO Moaz Bin Jabal Charit. Fathi and his family are one of them. He fled Moadamiyeh after months of fighting emptied stores’ shelves.
No food in shops
“Shops ran out of most foods months ago; bread hasn’t been available for months as well,” Fathi says of Moadamiyeh that he left only a month ago. “There was no fuel, no cooking gas; people had to use wood for cooking”.
He says they could survive the summer months as they produced their own vegetables and fruits but when winter approached only olives were left. “Once olives are gone there will be nothing left to eat there,” he says.
Abou Ajwad’s story was not much different; he also had to flee Moadamiyeh after having refused for months. “I am a farmer and we don’t leave our land, the olive trees are my soul, the farm I had was everything for me,” says Abou Ajwad. With no bread for over nine months, all he ate was raw vegetables and green leaves. “There came a moment when I got too weak; I couldn’t stand on my feet and they took me out on a stretcher. I wouldn’t have left otherwise. Although I am happy I’m reunited with my family who fled to Saboura a long time ago, I quite sad I had to leave Moadamiyeh.”
Both Fathi and Abou Ajwad say many like them are still trapped in Moadamiyeh and refuse to leave their homes and lands. WFP has tried several times over the past few months to reach the besieged town of Moadamiyeh. All attempts have been unsuccessful so far. Syrians in the town of Moadamiyeh have not received any assistance for over a year.
WFP is aiming to reach 4 million people inside Syria with food assistance this month. In November, WFP reached 3.4 people across the country.
If you would like to support WFP's operations to support Syrians in places like Saboura, please go to: wfp.org/crisis/syria