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UN agency resumes food voucher program for Syrian refugees
December 11,2014   By:Xinhua

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 11, 2014 -- The World Food Programme ( WFP) announced on Tuesday that it is reinstating food assistance to Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, thanks to a massive expression of support from the public, the private sector and donor countries, a UN spokesman told reporters here.

"By mid-December, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, as well as Egypt, will have their electronic food vouchers, also known as e-cards, which will be uploaded with an average amount of 30 U.S. dollars for each family member, so that they can immediately use them to buy food from local shops," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

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

Almost 14,000 individuals and private sector donors in 158 countries contributed 1.8 million U.S. dollars, the spokesman noted.

"As a result of the campaign, WFP has to date raised more than 80 million dollars, including contributions from governments, surpassing the total goal of 64 million dollars," he said. "Those contributions permit the full value of the e-cards to be distributed to refugees this month, with some funds carrying through to January."

WFP said that this is very much only a stop-death measure, he said. "While we should be pleased this money has been received, it shows that these programs really are able to work month to month and we need sustained support."

The conflict in Syria, which broke out in March 2011, has led to well over 150,000 deaths, with more than 680,000 people injured. At least 10.8 million people are in need of assistance inside Syria, including at least 6.5 million who are internally displaced.

The violence has also spawned a refugee crisis flooding neighboring countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with some 2.5 million people.

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