World Food Programme warns of drought in Syria

United Nations, April 9: The World Food Programme (WFP) warned Tuesday that a potential drought would further cripple the already fragile food security situation in Syria, where a record high of 4 million people received assistance from the UN food agency in March.

“The World Food Programme’s food security analysts say that rainfall since September has been less than half the long-term average, and will have a major impact on the next cereal harvest,” Xinhua quoted Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for the Secretary-General, as citing a special report published by the WFP.

“With three-quarters of the rainfall season gone, it is unlikely that there will be a significant recovery in this agricultural season.”

He said, according to rainfall data, the worst-affected provinces account for nearly 50 percent of Syrian wheat production.

The WFP report said that dry conditions, also affecting the wider Middle East, will compound the impact of the civil war on the agricultural sector. Wheat production is expected to be between 1.7 to 2 million metric tons, falling short of the country ‘s wheat needs that stood at 5.1 million metric tonnes last year.

Livestock and pastoral livelihoods will also suffer as a result of water shortages and poor pasture availability, it said.

IANS