WFP to the aid of Palestinians displaced from Yarmouk camp

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A Syrian family receives food aid at a WFP distribution point.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is to start providing emergency food assistance to thousands of Palestinian refugees caught up in fighting around the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.

WFP hopes to reach over 125,000 Palestinians and displaced Syrians with ready-to-eat food.

The Yarmouk camp, which is home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria, was this week the scene of violent clashes which led to the exodus of nearly 100,000 Palestinians.

WFP says the emergency operation will require an additional $1.5 million to immediately buy more than 580 tons of food to last for three months.

Elisabeth Byrs is the spokesperson for WFP in Geneva.

"Distribution will start in the next few days, and we will provide ready to eat canned food and approximately 12 kilos per family per week. Palestinian refugees and thousands of displaced Syrians had taken refuge in the camp and then they fled due to escalation of violence. Many of them are now with relatives. They are sheltered in mosques, in schools. They are cold, they are terrified, and we will do our best to provide those people who have been located and identified in those public buildings and where they are with these ready to eat rations."

WFP is also providing food assistance to an average of 1.5 million people each month in all 14 governorates in Syria.

The agency needs around $134 million to continue with its food distribution programme inside Syria until June 2013.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

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