Size of food parcels cut by a fifth as donor countries fail to fulfil pledges of donations to aid agencies.
The United Nations has been forced to cut the size of food parcels for those left hungry by Syria’s civil war by a fifth because of a shortage of funds from donors, a senior official has said.
Nevertheless, the United Nations’ World Food Programme managed to get food to a record 4.1m people inside Syria last month, just short of its target of 4.2m, WFP deputy executive director Amir Abdulla told a news conference on Monday.
As the humanitarian crisis within Syria intensifies, its neighbours are also groaning under the strain of an exodus of refugees that now totals around 3m, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said.
"We know that this tragedy, together with the tragedy of the people displaced inside the country, 6.5m, now shows that almost half of the Syrian population is displaced."
Donor countries pledged $2.3bn for aid agencies helping Syria at a conference in Kuwait in January, but only $1.1bn has been received so far, including $250m handed over by Kuwait on Monday, UN officials said.
The delay meant that the standard family food basket for five people, which includes rice, bulgur wheat, pasta, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, and wheat flour, had to be cut by 20 percent in March to allow more people to be fed, WFP said.
Guterres’s office needs more than $1.6bn to fund fully its operations this year in response to the crisis, but has received only 22 percent to date, a UNHCR statement said.
This is really sad.
"Dutch priest Frans van der Lugt, who was renown for his insistence on staying in Syria’s besieged city of Homs, has been shot dead there by an unknown gunman.
His death was reported on Monday by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syria’s state news agency SANA, and was confirmed by the Dutch Jesuit Order.
Van der Lugt, 75, had become a well-known figure in the Old City of Homs, respected by many for his solidarity with residents of the rebel-held area under a government siege for nearly two years.
He refused to leave despite constant shelling and dwindling supplies, insisting that Syria was his home and he wanted to be with the country’s citizens in their time of need.
The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties.
Frans van der Lugt, Dutch priest
"I can confirm that he’s been killed," Jan Stuyt, secretary of the Dutch Jesuit Order, told the AFP news agency by phone.
"A man came into his house, took him outside and shot him twice in the head. In the street in front of his house."
Stuyt said he was not aware of particular threats to van der Lugt, adding that the priest would be buried in Syria “according to his wishes”.
Van der Lugt spent nearly five decades in Syria, and said in February that he considered the country to be his home.
"The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties," he said.
He stayed on even as some 1,400 people were evacuated during a UN-supervised operation that began on February 7 and also saw limited supplies of food brought into the city.
Homs’s Old City has been besieged by government forces for nearly two years, creating increasing dire circumstances for those unable to leave.
"The faces of people you see in the street are weak and yellow. Their bodies are weakened and have lost their strength," Van der Lugt said before the UN operation."
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends
مآ أجمّل أنْ تصمتْ
فيْ ؤجهْ منْ ينتظرْ منِك الخِصَام
وما أجمل أنْ تضحك
فيْ وجهْ منْ يُنتظرْ منك البكـاءْ
How beautiful is it to stay silent
When someone expects you to be enraged from them.
And how beautiful it is to laugh
When someone thinks you are going to shed tears.
Trying to do this for myself, especially this year and ahead insha’Allah.
Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do them. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that - that’s what life is.
You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself
- Amy Poehler
The 4 Promises from Almighty Allah in the Quran, and Allah never fails in his promise:
1. “So remember Me; I will remember
you” (Baqarah: 152)
2. “If you are grateful, I will surely increase
you [in favors]…” (Ibrahim: 7)
3. “Call upon Me, I will respond to
you…” (Ghafir: 70)
4.”…And Allah will not punish them, while
they seek forgiveness…” (Anfaal: 33)