Saturday, October 4, 2008

Syrian drought in figures

"“According to the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), Syria’s current drought is, by far, the worst it has experienced in four decades,” said Michelle Montas, the spokeswoman for Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief.

“The vast majority of funds requested in the appeal will go towards agriculture, livelihoods and food. Nearly $2 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund has already been put towards the appeal.”

Poor and erratic rains in the season beginning in Oct 2007 resulted in crop yields plummeting across north-east Syria, while the subsequent lack of fodder has seen 59,000 owners of small herds lose all of their livestock.

Officials have assisted 29,000 drought-struck families and offered free cattle medicine and feed on loan, but the UN says in a report the affected population’s need “is beyond the government’s capacity and resources”.

Syrians living in the drought-affected region are being doubly impacted by the global rise in food costs, which is seeing prices outstripping the average household income.

UN officials say people are eating less, selling their assets or migrating, while conditions like anaemia, malnutrition and diarrhoea are on the rise – particularly among pregnant women and young children."

I wonder what this program will do. Will it be able to reach the Bedouin population which has been the most affected? It should really be targeted and this relief program should be accompanied with a livelihood stabilization program.

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