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UN slashes funding to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

The World Food Program says it will have to cut food aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon by half because of a funding crisis, and may soon have to halt all food support for most refugees in Jordan.

Lebanon and Jordan are among five countries that host some four million Syrian war refugees. The UN refugee agency warned last week that with the Syria conflict in its fifth year, funding levels for refugee aid programs dropped to a dangerous low in 2015.

Many refugee families have been struggling to get by, and cuts in food aid are having a devastating effect, said Joelle Eid, spokeswoman for the WFP in Amman.

“Today, parents have to make decisions that no parent around the globe should be making,” she said. “They are forced to skip meals. They are accumulating a lot of debt. They are moving their children out of school and even sending their children to work.”

The WFP, which had to reduce food aid in the past due to the cash crisis, said that refugee food aid in Lebanon is being cut in half in July, to $13.50 per person per month. About 440,000 refugees in Jordan who live outside refugee camps and currently receive food aid are escaping cuts this month, but could be left empty-handed if funds don’t arrive by August, Eid said.

The WFP said it needs $139 million to continue helping Syrian refugees in the region through September.

— AP

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