Around 2.2 million Syrians risk joining the fast swelling ranks of the hungry and poor in war-torn Syria, the World Food Program warned Monday.
“Without urgent help 2.2 million more could slip further into hunger and poverty,” WFP said in a statement on Twitter.
The UN agency said in May that a record 9.3 million people in Syria were food insecure, as spiraling prices and the novel coronavirus pandemic compound the damage of the country’s nine-year war.
That figure had leaped from 7.9 million six months earlier.
Most of Syria’s population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations, and food prices have doubled over the past year.
In that same period, Syrians in government-held areas have faced a fuel crisis, a plummeting Syrian pound on the black market, and steep price hikes.
Damascus has blamed Western sanctions for its struggling economy.
But analysts have pointed to other factors, including a financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon, long a conduit for dollars to Damascus-held areas under sanctions.
The conflict has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions more from their homes since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.