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Published:April 16th, 2008 11:59 EST
Mahmoud Yassin joins cast of hunger fighters

Mahmoud Yassin joins cast of hunger fighters

By SOP newswire

New York, NY-- Egyptian actor Mahmoud Yassin, an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has appealed for urgent funds for the agency's operation in Syria which aims to feed some 360,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of this year.

The operation is facing a funding shortfall of 45 per cent, with WFP having received only $24 million out of the $44 million needed.

After meeting some of the Iraqi families assisted by WFP during his visit to Syria on Monday, Mr. Yassin said "the last thing they need is for their basic food requirements to be disrupted as well." WFP and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,">UNHCR), in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, carried out a distribution of food and other items in February.

"If the funds don't become available soon, the next round of food distribution may have to be postponed," warned Pippa Bradford, WFP's Country Director for Syria.

The food distribution in Syria is part of a $127 million regional operation that includes assistance to 750,000 Iraqis displaced within their country. That operation is facing a funding shortfall of over 60 per cent.

Syria is hosting some 1.5 million Iraqis who have left their homeland.  Many of them have no savings or income and are finding it difficult to cope with the rising costs of living, including food prices.

A UN survey found that about a third of Iraqi refugees in Syria said they skipped one meal a day to feed their children. Sixty per cent said they were buying cheaper, often less nutritious, food owing to the high prices.