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WFP warns food stocks running low in quake-hit northern Syria


GENEVA — The World Food Programme (WFP) is running out of stocks in northwest Syria and called to open more border crossings from Turkey after both countries were ravaged by earthquakes, the UN food aid organization said on Friday.

“Northwest Syria, where 90% of the population depends on humanitarian assistance, is a big concern. We have reached the people there, but we need to replenish our stocks,” Corinne Fleischer, WFP regional director in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe, told reporters.

“We are running out of stocks and we need access to bring new stocks in. The border crossing is open now, but we need to get new border crossings open.”

Currently, there is only one open crossing, at Bab al-Hawa, between Turkey and the opposition-held northwest Syria. It was shut briefly after Monday’s massive earthquake and aftershocks, but reopened on Thursday.

The International Organization for Migration said that 14 trucks carrying humanitarian aid, including electric heaters, tents, blankets, had crossed into northern Syria from Turkey on Friday.

Six trucks carrying UN aid made it across the border on Thursday. Ms. Fleischer stressed that opening a second border crossing was essential to getting aid to northwest Syria.

“We need the second opening because of the delay of the transport to the damaged roads,” she said. “We were able to manage with this in the circumstances before the quake, now we are not anymore. We need both crossings to be open.”

A Turkish official said on Friday that Ankara is discussing reopening a border crossing into Syrian government territory and also looking at opening another into Syria’s opposition-held Idlib region. — Reuters

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