The World Food Program, the food aid organization of the United Nations, will suspend assistance to Syrian refugees — more than 1.7 million — because it has run out of the necessary funds, according to The New York Times.
The suspension is expected to take place immediately, and will have “disastrous” consequences for refugees in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey, who depend on the organization for vouchers that can be exchanged for food.
“The same mechanism also provides an economic lifeline to communities struggling to cope with the huge influx of Syrian refugees in the last four years,” reports The New York Times.
Although the World Food Program has received several millions in funding from the United States ($125 million last week) the organization has said that it requires an additional $64 million to support its current voucher operation, or else food aid in Syria will stop in February.
In a statement from agency headquarters, the program’s executive director Ertharin Cousin warned that the effect of stopping aid would be dire: “A suspension of W.F.P. food assistance will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability and insecurity in the neighboring host countries.”
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.