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WFP resumes food assistance to Syrian refugees


9 December 2014. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is reinstating food assistance to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries thanks to a massive expression of support from the public, the private sector and donor countries. A 72 hour fundraising drive exceeded its goal. 

By mid-December, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt will have their electronic food vouchers – also known as e-cards – uploaded with an average amount of US$30 per family member so that they can immediately use them to buy food from local shops.

After suspending food aid to nearly 1.7 million Syrian refugees on 1 December, WFP launched an ambitious social media fundraising campaign using the hashtag #ADollarALifeline that raised millions from individuals, the private sector and governments.

syria-lifeline-180x180Among individuals contributing online through, the third largest number by nationality were Syrians, after Americans (first) and Canadians (second). The online campaign featured Aloe Blacc’s song “I Need A Dollar” as the soundtrack for the #ADollarALifeline video which launched on social media channels. Almost 14,000 individuals and private sector donors in 158 countries contributed US$1.8 million dollars.

As a result of the campaign, WFP has to date raised more than US$80 million – including contributions from governments – surpassing the goal to raise US$64million in December and permitting the full value of the e-cards to be distributed to refugees this month, with some funds carrying through to January.

“This outpouring of support in such a short time is unprecedented,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “We’re especially grateful to the many individual members of the public who reached into their own pockets to send whatever they could to help Syrian refugees who have lost everything. They showed that even as little as a dollar can make a difference.”

WFP’s donation page is still up and running on and the public can continue to contribute to WFP’s life-saving assistance for displaced Syrians.

Contributions from donor governments will be announced soon.

Many UN agencies joined forces with WFP to promote the social media campaign. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, among other agencies, dedicated their social media channels to help raise funds and to bring awareness to the serious impact that suspension of food assistance would have on the lives of 1.7 million Syrian refugees.

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, WFP has succeeded, despite fighting and problems of access, in meeting the food needs of millions of displaced people inside Syria and up to 1.7 million refugees in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.


Thanks to substantial support from government partners in donor countries, a total of US$88.4 million has been raised to date. As this exceeds the goal of US$64 million required to fund the refugee programme in December, it allows WFP to cover some of the refugees' food needs in January.

Over recent days, the following (in alphabetical order) have announced contributions:

  • Belgium (US$138,000)
  • European Union (US$6.2 million)
  • Germany (US$5.4 million)
  • Ireland (US$1.1 million)
  • Netherlands (US$7.5 million)
  • Norway (US$10.2 million)
  • Qatar (US$2 million)
  • Saudi Arabia (US$52 million)
  • Switzerland (US$2.1 million)

The total also includes US$1.8 million from individuals and private sector donors.

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