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U.N. agency: Unable to reach 1 million Syrians in need of food aid

By Bloomberg News

This article was published January 8, 2013 at 7:55 a.m.

— The World Food Programme is unable to reach about 1 million Syrians in need of food in some of the regions hardest hit by the civil war.

The United Nations agency said it is providing food assistance to about 1.5 million people in Syria, 85 percent of them internally displaced, every month.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent asked in October for an increase in the number of beneficiaries to 2.5 million, the agency said.

“WFP is unable to further scale-up assistance due to the lack of implementing partners on the ground and challenges reaching some of the country’s hardest-hit areas,” spokesman Elisabeth Byrs said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. “Our main partner, the Red Crescent, is overstretched and has no more capacity to expand further.”

The Syrian conflict, which began with peaceful protests in March 2011, has become a civil war that has killed more than 60,000 people, according to U.N. estimates.

The number of Syrians urgently needing humanitarian aid quadrupled to 4 million between March and December, the world body said last month.

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