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WFP To Scale Up In Syria, But Humanitarian Access Is Key

WFP is aiming to scale up to assist more families in Syria, but requires greater humanitarian access in order to reach them, Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said Wednesday during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

DAVOS—WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin on Wednesday called the attention of political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighbouring countries. 

At a press conference held during the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, Cousin said that the agency needed greater humanitarian access inside Syria in order to reach all of the people who needed its help.

WFP in Davos 

Mountain scene in DavosWFP is at Davos to keep hunger on the agenda at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

“Our commitment is to ensure that we are reaching the needy inside Syria whether they are in opposition-held areas or government-controlled areas,” said Cousin. “However, we can only do this if we have the humanitarian space to perform.”

Humanitarian space

WFP is currently providing food assistance to around 1.5 million people in the country, working on both sides of the front lines to deliver food where it’s needed.

As humanitarian needs continue to grow, Cousin said that WFP is working to scale up the number of people it’s reaching—a factor that will depend on the agency’s ability to move food in and around the country.

She also noted that WFP’s resources for the emergency were depleting rapidly. Its operation to assist families in Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries is facing a shortfall of over $267 million.

Catastrophic situation

Cousin was joined at the press conference by Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and H.E. Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey.

“The humanitarian situation is already catastrophic and it’s clearly getting worse,” said Amos. “We need more people, we need more partners, and we need to be able to deliver more quickly,” said Amos.