Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Syria

Map of Syria

April 24, 2019


  • The UN estimates that 11.7 million people inside Syria need humanitarian assistance. Of those, 9 million require emergency food assistance to meet their basic food needs, including 6.5 million people facing life-threatening food insecurity. 
  • In addition to ongoing insecurity, the UN notes that inflation, high food prices, and the worst drought in 30 years—that killed high numbers of livestock and drastically reduced crop yields in 2018—have also contributed to food assistance needs across Syria in 2019. Approximately 65 percent of Syrian households have reported resorting to negative coping mechanisms—including restricting food consumption and purchasing food on credit—to meet food needs.
  • According to the UN, internally displaced persons (IDPs), female-headed households, older people, and persons with disabilities—remain especially vulnerable and are likely to face higher levels in food insecurity during 2019 than those in more accessible areas of Syria.
  • More than 5.6 million refugees from Syria reside in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. In many host countries, Syrian refugees lack legal livelihood opportunities and depend on emergency food assistance. Due to the length of the crisis, Syrian refugees and host communities are vulnerable to worsening food insecurity, deteriorating living conditions, and protection risks.
  • The protracted crisis in Syria continues to place an enormous cost on surrounding countries. Over-burdened infrastructure, schools, and health clinics, coupled with borders closed to trade, are straining the generosity of countries hosting Syrian refugees.


  • Since Fiscal Year 2012, Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has provided more than $2.9 billion in emergency food assistance for the Syria crisis—approximately $1.8 billion to assist vulnerable families inside Syria and over $1.1 billion for vulnerable refugees in neighboring countries.
  • FFP funding supports programs that reach approximately 3.5 million people inside Syria and an additional 1.1 million refugees each month. Inside Syria, FFP partners, including the UN World Food Program (WFP) and non-governmental organizations, provide flour to bakeries; monthly household food parcels, food vouchers, or cash transfers for food to vulnerable Syrians; and ready-to-eat rations to newly displaced populations. 
  • Since 2012, WFP’s refugee operations, with FFP resources, have injected nearly $5 billion into local economies in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey primarily through cash-based transfers and local food procurement. The programs result in benefits for local economies by creating jobs in supermarkets and local shops, increasing business for food wholesalers and food producers, and generating tax revenue.


Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

Fiscal Year U.S. Dollars
Fiscal Year 2019 $141.4 million
Fiscal Year 2018 $514.6 million
Fiscal Year 2017 $401.8 million


Country Specific Guidance

Related Resources


Last updated: April 25, 2019

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