With ISIL’s three and a half-year siege lifted, the UN’s World Food Programme has carried out a landmark mission in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor City to document the conditions on the ground. The WFP’s Syria Deputy Director said the organisation intended to beef-up its programmes and deliver more assistance to the city and governate.
The city’s population now stands at over 100,000. Its only market runs along a 1.5-kilometre stretch of street. It is moderately stocked with food, produce and other goods traders manage to bring in from Damascus.
To feed his family Ali, a father of two, rummages for metal scraps to sell at the market.
“We share the food and money we bring amongst ourselves. During the siege we [parents] would not eat in order to feed our children”, he explained.
The WFP ran high-altitude airdrops over Deir ez-Zor from April 2016 to August 2017. Humanitarian assistance and food were dropped to help some 93,000 people besieged in the city.
Now that the roads in have been deemed accessible once again, other UN agencies are able to truck in assistance more regularly.
The WFP is now tasked with assessing the needs of the population in a city where infrastructure is almost completely destroyed, unemployment is high and poverty is on the rise.