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U.N. Suspends Food Aid for 1.7 million Syrian Refugees

Image: Kurdish refugee children from the Syrian town of Kobani carry food for breakfast
Kurdish refugee children from the Syrian town of Kobani carry food for breakfast in a camp in the southeastern town of Suruc on the Turkish-Syrian border, October 18, 2014. KAI PFAFFENBACH / Reuters file

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GENEVA — A lack of funds has forced the U.N. World Food Program to stop providing food vouchers for 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, the agency said on Monday. "Without WFP vouchers, many families will go hungry. For refugees already struggling to survive the harsh winter, the consequences of halting this assistance will be devastating," said WFP, which needs $64 million to support the refugees for the rest of December.

The electronic voucher program has already injected about $800 million into local shops in the countries hosting refugees, and WFP will immediately resume it if new funding arrives, the statement added. The agency has already cut rations for 4.25 million people in Syria. The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, has said that a lack of cash has forced it to prioritize as it helps those in need prepare for winter, with preference for people at higher, colder altitudes and vulnerable refugees such as newborn babies.

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— Reuters

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