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21.06.2021 | Press Release

Record high: Hunger crisis worsens for civil war refugees

Welthungerhilfe on UN refugee figures and the situation in Syria.

Ein Junge trägt Brot, Syrien 2019.
Welthungerhilfe and its partner organizations provide emergency aid in Syria. This boy received bread at a food distribution. © HIHFAD/Welthungerhilfe
Simone Pott Team Communications

Bonn/Berlin, 18/06/2021 The new UN refugee figures have risen to sad record high despite the coronavirus pandemic: More than 82 million people around the world had to leave their homes due to persecution, violence, and human rights violations. This is almost equivalent to the entire population of Germany. 86 percent of all displaced people find refuge in neighbouring countries or in countries in the Global South, which are also fighting hunger and poverty.

After ten years of civil war, Syria alone has 13.5 million refugees and internally displaced people – a sad record. The situation faced by internally displaced people within Syria is particularly dramatic. Around 2.7 million internally displaced people are stuck in the northwest of Syria at the Turkish border: “The conditions in the camps are often appalling. In addition to poverty, a lack of prospects, and fear of the coronavirus, increasing hunger is one of the greatest problems. Prices for bread, vegetables and fruit are rising unchecked. At the same time, we see that the regime is intentionally setting fire to fields that are ripe for harvest, as it does every year at harvest time and uses hunger as a weapon,” explains Konstantin Witschel, Programme Coordinator for Syria.

“If the last border crossing point for UN aid supplies from Turkey is closed, there is a risk that the already catastrophic humanitarian situation, could get completely out of control. More than a million people rely on cross-border United Nations food aid to survive. The vaccination campaign against COVID19 in the northwest of the country is also at stake, says Konstantin Witschel, referring to the cross-border aid, which will have to be decided on again in the Security Council at the beginning of July.

Welthungerhilfe is providing assistance in Syria and in neighbouring Turkey and Lebanon for people who have fled the war in Syria. In 2020, Welthungerhilfe supported more than 600,000 people, mostly through food aid, e.g., food vouchers, deliveries of flour for bakeries, and seed, fertiliser and tools for agriculture.

Konstantin Witschel, Programme Coordinator for Syria, is available for interviews.

Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany; politically independent and non-denominational. It is fighting for “Zero Hunger by 2030”. Since it was founded in 1962, more than 9,830 overseas projects in 70 countries have been supported with €3.95 billion. Welthungerhilfe works on the principle of help for self-help: from fast disaster relief to reconstruction and long-term development cooperation projects with national and international partner organisations.

Press Photos

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Konstantin Witschel, Welthungerhilfe Programme Coordinator in Syria, visiting a refugee camp in A'zaz, Syria in June 2021. © Adib Abokhors/ Welthungerhilfe
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Syria alone has 13.5 million refugees and internally displaced people after ten years of civil war - a sad record worldwide. © Welthungerhilfe
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Welthungerhilfe and its partner organisations provide emergency aid in crisis areas, like here in Syria. This boy received bread at a food distribution. © HIHFAD/Welthungerhilfe
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Welthungerhilfe employee Jessica Kühnle talking to a Syrian woman who has fled. Welthungerhilfe supports Syrian refugees in Turkey, among other things, through an agricultural project to grow cucumbers. © Welthungerhilfe
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More than one million people have fled the ongoing war in Syria to Lebanon.Together, refugees and residents are now developing agricultural value chains, increasing their agricultural production and income. Welthungerhilfe supports them in this. © Welthungerhilfe
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Last Update 15.02.2022

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