Hacking Hunger – Episode 26: One Father’s Reflections From Syria

Published March 15, 2018

Escalating violence in Eastern Ghouta has dominated recent news coverage of the conflict in Syria as humanitarians struggle to reach families trapped without food. Jakob Kern has witnessed the turmoil firsthand as head of the U.N. World Food Programme’s operation in Damascus for the last two years.

“From my office I can see the bombs hitting, I can see smoke rising. Just the other day I was doing homework with my boy on Skype and a mortar hit 300 meters away,” Jakob tells us. “As I went to the window and showed my son the smoke, the second bomb hit in more or less the same place. This is the reality. The war is not 10 kilometers away from the city – the war has been brought right into the city.”

In this episode of Hacking Hunger, as the Syrian conflict enters its 8th year, hear about what Jakob has seen during his time in the country – and what the headlines often miss.

Guest Bio: Jakob Kern

For the past two and a half years, Jakob Kern has managed the most complicated humanitarian operation on the planet. As the country director for WFP in Syria, he oversees the delivery of lifesaving food assistance to more than 3 million people inside the country whose lives have been disrupted by war. From high-altitude airdrops and truck convoys to reach besieged communities to beekeeping operations and homegrown school meals, Kern and his staff of 300 dedicated aid workers are doing whatever they can to feed families in need.