DAMASCUS (WFP): The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has reached two new locations in Raqqa governorate with food assistance, using a newly opened land route that has allowed access for the first time in three years to Mansoura and other rural areas north of Raqqa city.
This new access allows WFP to expand its regular food deliveries to Raqqa. WFP is now delivering food every month to nearly 200,000 people, displaced in eight hard-to-reach locations inside Raqqa governorate as well as other areas in neighbouring governorates. Since June, WFP has dispatched 52 trucks carrying food assistance for these locations.
Prior to the re-opening of the road that links Aleppo to Hasakeh -- the western and eastern parts of Syria, WFP operated an airlift to deliver life-saving food assistance from Damascus airport to Qamishli to reach those in need in Hasakeh, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor governorates.
“Land access is always the best option for WFP to reach Syrians in need of assistance. Replacing airlifts with road deliveries will save an estimated US$19 million per year, as each truck on the road carries the equivalent of a planeload of food at a significantly lower cost,” said Jakob Kern, WFP Representative and Country Director in Syria.
“With these cost savings and improved access, we are now reaching more families and people returning to their homes who need our help with regular food deliveries.”
Taken over by ISIS in 2014
An example of the areas WFP can now reach by road is the city of Tabqa, in Raqqa, where WFP this month was able to double the number of people in need it reached, delivering monthly food rations to 25,000 people, many of whom have returned to their original homes and are now working to rebuild their lives.
WFP distributes monthly food and nutrition supplies through its local partners working in Tabqa, Mansoura, rural areas north of Raqqa city, Ain Issa, Journiyeh, Tal Abyad, Al-Karama and Suluk in Raqqa governorate as well as Abu Khashab and Mabrouka camp in the nearby governorates of Deir Ezzor and Hassakeh – both of which host displaced people from Raqqa.
Most of Raqqa was taken over by ISIS in 2014. WFP was able to reach parts of the governorate in March this year for the first time since July 2015.
Country-wide, WFP delivers food assistance every month to four million people across all of Syria’s 14 governorates. In addition to its emergency operation, WFP is also scaling up support for long-term recovery by focusing on livelihoods, nutrition, and improving access to primary education for children in Syria by providing school meals.