Syria’s government agrees to allow UN aid into area with reports of deaths from malnutrition

The Syrian government has agreed to allow humanitarian assistance into three beleaguered villages following reports of deaths from malnutrition in that part of the country, a U.N. official said Thursday.

BEIRUT — The Syrian government has agreed to allow humanitarian assistance into three beleaguered villages following reports of deaths from malnutrition in that part of the country, a U.N. official said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the aid group Doctors Without Borders said 23 patients have died of starvation at an MSF-supported health centre in one of the three villages since Dec. 1 — including six infants under 1 years of age and five adults over the age of 60.

A statement from Yacoub El Hillo, U.N.’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, said aid will begin entering the villages in the coming days.

Two of the villages in question are the adjacent Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya in the country’s north, which have been besieged by anti-government militants for more than a year. The third is the village of Madaya near the border with Lebanon, which has been under siege by government forces since early July.

“The UN welcomes today’s approval from the government of Syria to access Madaya, Foua and Kfarya and is preparing to deliver humanitarian assistance in the coming days,” said El Hillo.

Activists have said that several people have died over the past weeks in both areas because of malnutrition. There are currently some 30,000 people in the two Shiite villages and an even higher number in Madaya.

“Almost 42,000 people remaining in Madaya are at risk of further hunger and starvation,” El Hillo warned.

El Hillo said the U.N. is particularly concerned about the plight of nearly 400,000 people besieged by parties to the conflict in areas including the eastern city of Deir el-Zour as well as the Damascus suburbs known as eastern Ghoua.

In the meantime, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government has repeatedly denied U.N. requests to deliver aid to specific areas.

“In the last year, only 10 per cent of all requests for U.N. inter-agency convoys to hard-to-reach and besieged areas were approved and delivered,” the statement said.

He added that up to 4.5 million people in Syria live in hard-to-reach areas, including nearly 400,000 people in 15 besieged locations who do not have access to the life-saving aid they urgently need.

The conflict that began in March 2011 has killed more than 250,000 people and wounded more than a million. The crisis has also displaces half of Syria’s pre-war 23 million people.

From Brussels, Doctors Without Borders also called for an immediate delivery of lifesaving medicine and medical evacuations, in addition to food supplies to Madaya, where it reported the 23 deaths from starvation.

After the last, single food delivery in October, the siege of the village had tightened into a complete stranglehold, MSF said.

“Madaya is now effectively an open-air prison for an estimated 20,000 people, including infants, children and elderly,” said Brice de le Vingne, MSF director of operations.

“This is a clear example of the consequences of using siege as a military strategy,” de le Vingne added.

Just Posted

Shipping oil by rail questioned

Red Deer-area mayors respond

Country star Gord Bamford and The Reclaws perform free Games concert Friday

Show starts at 6:30 p.m. in heated dome off Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer

Survey looks at social isolation among older men

Partnership between Red Deer College and Golden Circle Resource Centre

Peruvian brothers travel nearly 8,000 km to volunteer at Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Italo and Mirko Del Castillo say Canadian warmth contrasts with twinter cold

Pride Days celebrated for first time at Canada Winter Games on Feb. 21 and 28

Pride Days are another first for Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games.… Continue reading

Gardening: What are you planting in 2019?

What’s new in plants for 2019? Checking catalogues, greenhouses and stores will… Continue reading

Opinion: I spy another energy hypocrite

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. The mittens provided to… Continue reading

Canada’s bobsleigh team races World Cup on Calgary home track facing closure

CALGARY — Canada’s skeleton and bobsled teams will race a World Cup… Continue reading

Italy becomes ninth international football league to join forces with CFL

TORONTO — Add Italy to the growing list of international football federations… Continue reading

Toronto Defiant Overwatch academy team to be known as the Montreal Rebellion

MONTREAL — The Toronto Defiant’s Overwatch academy team will be known as… Continue reading

Canadian fashion and design insiders recall Karl Lagerfeld’s charm, ingenuity

TORONTO — Several Canadian fashion and design experts who knew couture icon… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Most Read