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Middle East

UN vouchers for Syrian refugees saved by ‘unprecedented’ flood of donations

media Syria refugeees in Lebanon's Bekaa valley Reuters/Hassan Abdallah

The United Nations announced on Tuesday that it will reinstate food vouchers for 1.7 million Syrian refugees. Last week the UN's World Food Programme declared that it would have to cut the programme, due to budget shortfalls.

A surge in donations since the announcement will mean that Syrians in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon are at less of a risk of starvation this winter.

The World Food Programme revealed on Tuesday that it has received 80 million dollars (65 million euros) since it announced cuts to the programme last week.

This will allow new supplies equal to 30 dollars per person per Syrian family this month, with some funds to be spent in January 2015.

The news is a relief to many in the region, amid fears that without United Nations support many Syrians risked starving to death this winter.

The number of donations was "unprecedented", World Food Programme director Ertharin Cousin said in a statement.

A majority of the donations came from international governments, while private sector and individual donations totalled around 1.8 million dollars (1.5 million euros) of the 80 million total. The WFP declined to say which countries had donated the money.

This comes after the United Nations announced earlier this week that it will need to find over 16 billion dollars (13 billion euros) in 2015 to meet the urgent humanitarian needs up to 80 million people worldwide.

Three quarters of these people are viewed as urgently in need of help due to conflict and crisis.

Lebanon is currently home to over one million Syrians who fled following the uprising against President Bashar-al-Assad in March 2011.
 

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