Jordan-Syria Border, 4 August 2016 UN AGENCIES DELIVER URGENT RELIEF TO SYRIANS STRANDED AT SYRIA-JORDAN BORDER    World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director-General William Lacy Swing today announced the successful completion of a relief operation to provide more than 75,000 people with food and humanitarian relief items.  Statement by the heads of WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF, and IOM “Today the World Food Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF completed an urgent relief operation to provide a one-month ration of desperately-needed food and hygiene supplies to more than 75,000 people who are trapped along a land embankment, or berm, at the Syria-Jordan border.   “Unable either to cross the border or turn back, the situation facing these women, men and children has grown more dire by the day.  Sheltering in makeshift tents in harsh desert conditions with temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius and sudden sand storms, they are without sufficient food and have barely enough water to survive. Life-saving health care is also urgently required. Pregnant women, children, the elderly and the sick are especially vulnerable.    “We thank the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for supporting this critical operation, and we look forward to further efforts to reach people at the berm with humanitarian assistance in time to save their lives.” Background: An estimated 75,000 people fleeing conflict in Syria are living in makeshift shelters along the border area, or the berm, that runs along the Syria-Jordan border. Jordan sealed the berm area more than a month ago following an attack at a Jordanian border post. Before the border closure, UN agencies and aid organizations regularly delivered aid from Jordan’s territory to Syrians stranded on the other side of the berm.  Photo: WFP/Shaza Moghraby

The World Food Programme (WFP) issued a news update today that caught my eye because of three words: cranes, drones, and food. I don’t often see these words near each other, but in this case, each of these nouns played an important role in getting life-saving aid to Syrians stranded at the border with Jordan. 

According to WFP, more than 75,000 people – mostly children, women, and the elderly – who are seeking to escape the conflict in Syria are living in an area of earthen embankments between Jordan and Syria known as the “berm.” 

These families are stranded in horrible conditions and need relief. Yet since the border was closed following an attack in June, aid agencies have struggled to get food and other supplies to Syrians in need. 

So WFP and its partners for the first time ever used 70-meter-high cranes to lift food and hygiene kits from Jordan and lower them into the embankments. Drones flew above to monitor the operation. You can read more about the innovative operation on the WFP website.

As I read about the crane delivery, two thoughts stuck out to me:

1. In today’s world, no person should go hungry. Sadly, conflict and disaster have left millions of people in desperate need of aid. None of us should be ok with this world, and each of us should remember that we can act – donating money, emailing our elected officials – to help families in need.

2. WFP and aid agencies continue to do innovative work on the front lines of humanitarian crises. They need our support and adequate resources to get food and other life-saving supplies to families who have lost everything. 

Wanting our families to have enough food to eat is a universal experience and a reminder of our common humanity. Let’s work together to support the 130 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Visit to get involved.

[Photo: WFP\Shada Moghraby]