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The New Arab Staff

Syrian families 'at risk of starvation', as government limits subsidised bread

Families have to stand in lines daily to buy subsidised bread from state-run bakeries [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 October, 2020

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Syrian families larger than six are at risk of starvation after a government decision limited access to subsidised bread amid an economic crisis.
The Syrian government has unrolled limits on the amount of subsidised bread available to families, putting already impoverished larger families at risk of starvation, The Guardian reported on Monday.

The amount of subsidised bread families are allowed to buy with a state-issued electronic card now depends on the number of members per family, the report said, putting larger families at a disadvantage.

Under the recent government order, a family of two can buy one packet of bread a day, while a family of four can buy two packets, and a family of six three.

However, all families larger than six are reportedly entitled to only four packets of bread, regardless of the number of members.

Syria's state-run bakeries sell subsidised bread for 100 pounds per packet. Families who need more will have to turn to the black market, where prices run at nearly 500 Syrian pounds per packet.

The state operated bakeries have drawn massive lines since the start of the nine-year war, but such queues have increased since the Syrian pound plummeted last year.

"I have to wake up every day at 3am and go to the bakery and wait three hours in line so I can buy bread, then go home and get dressed and go to work, but four pieces of bread is nowhere near enough to feed my children," Abu Yasser, a civil servant with five children told The Guardian.

Read also: Syria Insight: Russia weaponises aid as Syrians go hungry

"Our solution so far is to eat fewer meals and try to use rice or bulgar wheat if we can find it. I can only afford to buy black market bread once a week," Abu Yasser was quoted as saying.

The World Food Programme estimates that 9.3 million Syrians are now food-insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the country and a 1.4 million increase in the last six months.

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