Further food aid cuts to Syrian refugees

This morning I learned that due to funding shortfalls, the World Food Program, a UN agency, is forced to make additional food cuts to Syrian refugees – exactly like the ones that we met in Jordan pictured above. As we celebrate Canada Day here, many with BBQ’s, parties and fireworks, there are hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees going hungry.

As it stood when we left, each member of the family pictured above received $10 JD a month for food from the WFP. That’s a father, mother, two daughters and two sons – $60 JD a month. So I thought to myself, what I can buy for $60 JD? Now I can barely shop for myself, but I thought let’s just plug in some numbers and see what we can do with what we’ve got. I used a cost of living calculator online and got myself this.

For 6 people.

1.00 JD = 1.77 CAD

Item Cost Quantity Total cost Remaining
 Milk (1 liter)  1.13 JD  6  6.78 JD  53.22 JD
 Loaf of Bread (500g)  0.25 JD  20  5.00 JD  48.22 JD
 Rice (1kg)  0.97 JD  6  5.82 JD  42.40 JD
 Local Cheese (1kg)  4.65 JD  2  9.30 JD  33.10 JD
 Chicken Breast (1kg)  4.01 JD  4  16.04 JD  17.06 JD
 Potato (1kg)  0.69 JD  8  5.52 JD  11.54 JD
 Oranges (1kg) 1.19 JD  3  3.57 JD  7.97 JD
 Tomato (1kg)  0.50 JD  3  1.50 JD  6.47 JD
 Eggs (12)  1.63 JD  3 4.89 JD  1.58 JD
Apples (1kg)  1.48 JD  1  1.48 JD  0.10 JD

That’s all that’s available to Jordan refugees today. That could probably keep me going for a month. Could it keep a family of six going, with four hungry youth?

In Lebanon today they were forced to cut the food vouchers in half, and in Jordan they say if they don’t receive immediate funding by August, they will have to suspend all assistance to Syrian refugees living outside camps, leaving some 440,000 people with no food.

The WFP says it remains 81 percent underfunded and requires and immediate injection of $139 million in order to continue helping “desperate” refugees until the end of the summer. And that’s not even counting all the other money requires to keep these operations up and running. This is a true humanitarian crisis, and there’s more people on the way as thousands upon thousands continue to flee Syria. Syrians who are used to being able to work for a living. Have homes, cars, laptops and other things that you and I are used to every single day.

Thrust from that life, into a life where you can’t look your child in the eye when they ask you why you won’t buy them enough food, because they’re still hungry.

I don’t know what the answer is here, but I know that this is a problem that we can’t sweep under the rug. We need to feed these people. 55% of them are children.

I don’t think any of us have $139 million in our back pocket, but I’d encourage you to donate if you’ve got a few extra dollars lying around. They probably need that Starbucks money more than we do. You can donate to the WFP on their website at wfp.org or by clicking here. You can also find the press release from the WFP here.

Thanks for reading.