After Earthquake, The WFP Has Raised Concerns Over Food Shortage In Syria

The earthquake that struck one of the most volatile regions of the world on February 6 could soon cause even more suffering, as the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that serious food shortages are happening in Syria. As reported by the BBC, a major 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southwest Turkey and Northern Syria, leading to an ongoing disaster that has left tens of thousands dead. The region was completely unprepared, as a major earthquake had not occurred there in over 200 years.

The damage done to infrastructure by the devastating earthquake has also led to fallout that could cause a second ongoing humanitarian crisis. CNN reports that water, electricity, and communication have been cut off in many areas, meaning just as many people could suffer from a deprivation of supplies in the aftermath of the disaster as did in the initial earthquake. Even as humanitarians deliver aid to victims, convoys of supplies have been slow to arrive as years of armed conflict in the region have made it difficult to access. 

This is all happening in a region that was already bracing for large scale food shortages, with the WFP estimating that in Syria alone over 12 million people are food insecure. Now the WFP is calling for more to be done in response to this new unfolding food crisis.

Food stocks are running low in Northwest Syria

The scale of the disaster in Syria in the wake of the earthquake is already straining the limited food supplies. According to Reuters, Syrians are facing potential starvation unless more humanitarian aid can reach them. The WFP says they have managed to reach people in the disaster zone, but in an area where 90% of people depend on foreign relief, food stocks are dangerously low and much more action is needed. In addition to earthquake damage, the effort to reach survivors with supplies has been stymied by the number of border crossings open, as there is only one location on the Syria-Turkey border where aid can enter the country.

The food shortage in Syria has been heavily driven by the ongoing war, which has torn apart the country for over a decade. According to the United Nations, the conflict has destroyed infrastructure, cut people off from supplies, and driven a surge in food prices that have left millions hungry, with the situation reaching an all-time low the past few years. This has all played out as the international community buckles under the weight of other food shortages, with dozens of countries in need of aid. 

Thankfully, there are organizations, like José Andrés' charity World Central Kitchen, which is dedicated to fighting food insecurity worldwide. If you want to donate to help victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake, Al Jazeera has advice on finding the best organizations to contribute to.