According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, over four million people inside Syria are still in need of food aid, though the organisation faces a $6 million funding gap for food aid from October until the end of the year.
Additionally, the United Nations admitted last month that it would not be able to meet its goal of aiding at least three million Syrians, as fighting intensified in areas near Damascus and Homs.
“Dispatches of food are slower because of the situation right now,” said the UN’s senior public information officer, Elisabeth Byrs, in July.
Khaled Erksoussi, Head of Operations at the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, said that rising costs of food and fuel coupled with repeated population movement, fighting and reduced employment had compounded the humanitarian situation within Syria.
“Money is running out and we are facing stark choices. We already know that in some places food parcels are being split to feed two families instead of one.”
On Thursday, Reuters reported that the deepening humanitarian crisis had prompted the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to issue a series of tenders for sugar, wheat, flour and rice in recent weeks.
However, sellers had been reluctant to take up the tenders, as the proposed government funds were mostly placed in bank accounts that were frozen by Washington and European sanctions.
Reuters noted that Syria would need to import around 2 million metric tons of wheat this year to meet its food needs, as the civil war had sliced its crop harvest to less than half its pre-conflict average. About a fifth of Syria's population are also unable to produce or buy enough food, and farmers are short of seed and fertilizers needed to plant the next crop, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, one of the few organisations allowed to distribute food in the country, recently revised its appeal from $41.9 million to $57.6 million to support the Syrian Red Crescent. The United Nations on the other hand is seeking up to $763 million in contributions through the end of the year to help up to seven million Syrians, including four million people in Syria and almost three million refugees in neighbouring countries.