more than half of the Syrian population ‘goes hungry’

Twelve years of war, poverty and the recent earthquake have brought the country to its knees. Nearly 12.1 million Syrians suffer from food insecurity and more than three million are in a situation of hunger, twice as many as in 2018. Solidarity and help from the Blue Marists of Aleppo, but there are concerns about the consequences for the psychological health of adults and children.

Aleppo () – More than half of the population of Syria, a country that suffered the devastating earthquake on February 6 with its epicenter in Turkey and has been the scene of a bloody conflict for 12 years, “suffers from hunger”. The experts of the World Food Program (WFP) once again warned about the situation of a country that, added to the dramatic consequences of the war, is suffering what is called the “poverty bomb”, which causes an even greater number of deaths. . A dramatic balance that between March 2011 and the same month of 2021 left a balance of more than 350,000 deaths -one in 13 was a child- and close to 5.5 million refugees, of whom 3.5 fled to Turkey. To these must be added the 6.5 million internally displaced persons, creating an increasingly explosive situation.

According to the latest WFP report released today, some 12.1 million Syrians suffer from food insecurity and more than three million are on the brink of outright hunger. The figure is at least double that of 2018, when the conflict was at its bloodiest, confirming a rapid deterioration in the quality of life -linked to international sanctions and conflicting interests- even in a less crude phase of the war .

The data from the report shows that 28% of children suffer consequences in their growth and development. Kenn Crossley, WFP country director in Syria, lists the difficulties faced by the population: “Bombing, displacement, isolation, drought, economic collapse and now earthquakes of impressive proportions. The Syrians – he warns – are “remarkably resilient”, but it is time for “the world to say enough” to this conflict. The average wage covers only a quarter of a family’s food needs, prices continue to rise, and there are also severe fuel and grain shortages related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Poverty, war and the devastation caused by the earthquake are some of the themes of the letter from Aleppo number 46 published yesterday by Dr. Nabil Antaki of the Blue Marists. The earthquake in the former economic and commercial capital of the country left a balance of 458 dead, more than 1,000 injured and the total collapse of some 60 buildings. Hundreds of other buildings, already showing the obvious signs of war, suffered damage beyond repair and must be demolished, thousands more are still unusable, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

From the beginning, Christian activists have been at the forefront of relief efforts: “In the last 20 days – writes Antaki – our residence has received hundreds of people, in variable numbers depending on arrivals and departures” to offer them shelter , food, clothing and a hot bath “Beyond the serious human and material cost -he continues- there are psychological traumas in people of all ages. Today, 35 days after the earthquake, adults and children are still suffering the consequences of shock, anguish and despair, they have nightmares and they think that the worst is yet to come”.

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