Food shortages are so dire in Syria that women and children are scavenging for food in bins, says Sister Annie Demerjian, a long standing partner of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Explaining that the deepening economic crisis means people in Syria are “surviving on one meal a day or less”, Sr. Annie said, “The explosion of poverty is now worse than in the time of war.”

She added: “Our people are not getting enough to eat… It is very painful to see people, children and women, looking in bins desperate for food.”

Sister Annie’s comments come after the UN reported that 12.4 million (60 percent) of people were not getting enough to eat, an increase of 3.1 million within nine months.

The religious Sister, who is based in Damascus, the capital, also stressed the impact of rising inflation, with UN reports that food prices had risen sharply and that more than 500,000 children under five were suffering from stunting as well as chronic malnutrition.

She thanked ACN’s benefactors for their ongoing support, including during the darkest days of the war.

“Thank God for your help, I always keep in mind the image of St Paul who said that if one part of the body is suffering, the whole body is suffering.

“You really live this image. You are sharing our suffering, not just keeping us on your prayers but also supporting us by helping us meet our different needs.”