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UN Appeals For $20 Million For Drought Victims

Syria: UN Appeals For $20 Million To Help Up To 1 Million Drought Victims

New York, Oct 3 2008 2:13PM

The United Nations today launched an appeal for $20 million to help up to 1 millions Syrians, predominantly herders and subsistence farmers, hit by the country’s worst drought in four decades.

The situation is not expected to improve until next spring, and that is if the rains do not fail for a second year in a row, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

An assessment by the UN country team has confirmed that the situation is considerably worse than initially feared and the requested $20.23 million will be used on projects in cooperation with the Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The average yield of basic crops has dropped significantly in both irrigated and rain-fed areas and up to 59,000 small herders have lost almost all their herds, with 47,000 others losing 50 to 60 per cent.

In addition, food prices have risen at a rate outstripping household income and the purchasing power of the general population in the affected areas. The UN inter-agency mission found that many people are eating less, selling assets or migrating.

Anaemia, malnutrition and diarrhoea are on the rise, especially among children under five and pregnant women. Drinking water has also decreased in rural areas of the northeast, particularly in villages depending on protected wells as their only source.

The majority of the funding – $14 million – is required for agriculture and livelihoods while $5 million will go for food. The UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) has already allocated $1.97 million for three projects in the appeal.

ends

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