- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Just over a week after cutting off critical food aid to some 1.7 million refugees of the Syrian civil war because of a lack of international contributions, the U.N.’s World Food Program announced Tuesday morning it had found the money to resume the program.

The Rome-based WFP said that contributions from donor countries, private organizations and from individuals via a social media campaign since the Dec. 1 suspension have allowed it to reinstate the aid. The program provides electronic food vouchers to displaced Syrians living in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

The failure of many donor countries to fulfill their pledges to the program, the subject of a front-page story in The Washington Times, led to the initial suspension. The U.S. was not one of the countries in arrears on its donor pledge.

WFP officials said the emergency appeal had brought in $80 million, $16 million more than the campaign’s original goal, allowing the aid pipeline to reopen.

“This outpouring of support in such a short time is unprecedented,” WFP Executive Director Etharin Cousin said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re especially grateful to the many individual members of the public who reached into their pockets to send whatever they could to help Syrian refugees who have lost everything.”

The original suspension led to panicked reactions from the refugees, already driven from their homes in the world’s bloodiest civil conflicts. The nearly four-year-old revolt against the rule of authoritarian President Bashar Assad had killed more than 200,000 people and displaced some 9.5 million Syrians either internally or abroad.

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