Syria Faces Looming Drought

With no end to the conflict in sight, Syrians must now cope with a looming drought.

The World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, has reported that Syria’s war has had catastrophic effects on irrigation systems and infrastructure, uprooted farming populations, interrupted trade, caused immeasurable damage to the ecology and now the country faces a looming drought that further threatens Syrians’ food security.

Since September 2013, rainfall in Syria has been recorded by WFP at less than half of the long-term average. Northern cities, including in the Aleppo and Hasakah Provinces which together account for more than half of Syria’s wheat production, have suffered severe deterioration in vegetation conditions. The repercussions are immense for the future—postwar restoration and future stability—and present—millions fighting hunger.

WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs has reported that the number of Syrians in need of emergency food aid could rise up to 6.5 million from the current figure of 4.2 million due to the reduction in food grown inside Syria. While the number of individuals in need continues to rise, food and resources are beginning to decline. WFP food aid has been cut by a fifth due to a lack of funds from international donors, with only 22 percent received of the $41 million needed per week to meet Syrians’ basic food needs.

The last time Syria suffered a drought–from 2006 to 2010, just before the conflict started–more than a million farmers and herders were devastated and eventually flocked to major cities in search of income. An estimated up to 60 percent of Syria’s land and 1.3 million people were affected. By the end of the drought, the conflict had begun, tearing Syria apart and leaving many with no time to recover before they were struck by the impacts of a civil war.

With summer approaching, Syrians’ reliance on the international community is at an all time high. If you’d like to help the victims of the Syrian conflict who are currently suffering through the country’s drought, please consider donating to our Care Package program which supplies our beneficiaries with food items including rice, sugar, wheat, cooking oil, ghee, lentils, jam, tea, halawa, tomato paste, zatar, mortadella, vermicelli, pasta, dates, cheese, baby formula, milk and eggs. In 2013, we were able to distribute 10,000 Standard Care Packages which included these essential food items and non-food items such as clothing, medicine, blankets, cooking gas containers, candles and fuel.

With a looming drought and an unrelenting war, it is critical that we do our part to meet the most vital needs of Syrians suffering through these unimaginable conditions.

–Dena Elian