SARC is the main humanitarian actor in Syria, working closely with the local communities providing humanitarian assistance to more than 5 million internally displaced people, affected communities and returnees every month. This assistance is based around the provision of food security. Provision of food assistance remains the main life-saving intervention in-country, although the start-up of food security and livelihoods initiatives is consistently growing and having meaningful impact at small-scale. According to assessments from WFP, food production has dropped to an all-time low in Syria. Many farmers have had to abandon their land, unable to afford the soaring costs of seeds, fertilizers and tractor fuel. There is a growing need to provide food to displaced people, affected communities, and people living in hard-to-reach (HTR) areas and areas under siege, in order to save lives and prevent severely damaging coping mechanisms.
Food prices have soared, with particularly grave consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable people. During market assessments conducted in Kafr Batna (in eastern Ghouta) at the end of last year, results pointed towards very limited food stocks, with severe shortages of staple foods such as rice, pulses, sugar and oil. The same situation translates to other areas experiencing escalation of the conflict, such as Rural Damascus and Rural Homs and Hama. IFRC approach is to continue providing food parcels as priority items for dispatch on short notice, for sudden onset internal displacement and new isolated locations opening for humanitarian relief, and overall emergency situations. IFRC items will be used by SARC in a flexible manner in emergency situations.
For Livelihoods and food-security related initiatives, specific beneficiary selection criteria may slightly vary depending on particularities of each project, for example, one project may consider access to land; while other projects may prioritize access to functioning markets, or previous experience with agriculture and livestock. However, the core criteria, shared by all projects includes key vulnerability insights such as: ▪ Families headed by women. ▪ Families with no source of income. ▪ Families with disabled children. ▪ Families with big number of children (5 and more). ▪ One of the family members at least should be under the age of 60.