The World Food Programme warned on Friday that hunger rates in Syria have soared to record highs after more than a decade of devastating conflict.
A brutal war that triggered years of economic crisis and damaged vital infrastructure has put 2.9 million at risk of sliding into hunger, while another 12 million do not know where their next meal is coming from, the UN agency said.
"Hunger soars to 12-year high in Syria," as 70 percent of the population might soon be "unable to put food on the table for their families," the statement said.
"Syria now has the sixth highest number of food insecure people in the world," the WFP added, with food prices increasing nearly 12-fold in three years.
Child and maternal malnutrition are also "increasing at a speed never seen before," in more than a decade of war,” Agence France Presse quoted the statement as saying.
If the international community does not step up to help Syrians, it risks facing "another wave of mass migration," said WFP executive director David Beasley during a visit to Syria this week.
"Is that what the international community wants?" he asked, urging donor countries to redouble efforts to "avert this looming catastrophe".
The UN estimates 90 percent of the 18 million people in Syria are living in poverty, with the economy hit by conflict, drought, cholera and the Covid pandemic as well as the fallout from the financial crash in Lebanon.