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UN food aid system fails Syria’s refugees

Syrian refugees are leaving grocery stores with empty shopping bags this week. A UN-backed “e-card” system had enabled millions of the displaced to buy food in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan; but funds dried up on December 1 and families now struggle to put food on the table. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), which runs the debit card-like scheme, cannot recharge accounts for some 1.7 million Syrian refugees with their December allowances because donors have not dug deeply enough into their pockets. Joelle Eid, an Amman-based WFP spokeswoman, said cash-strapped refugee families may take drastic steps – by removing children from school and sending them to work, or even returning to…