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

Central Alberta skiers, snowboarders thrilled for start of season

Central Alberta skiers and snowboarders are finally able to hit the slopes,… Continue reading

CN conductors’ union gives 72-hour strike notice as talks continue

TORONTO — Canadian National Railways conductors, trainpersons and yardpersons have given strike… Continue reading

Auto insurance to climb for central Alberta motorists

It’s going to be tough on many businesses, says local courier company owner

Canada’s Salvation Army testing out quicker tap-and-go option at kettle stations

TORONTO — Canada’s Salvation Army is testing out a new and faster… Continue reading

Father fights with private school over alleged bullying among 7-year-old girls

TORONTO — A Toronto father alleges in a lawsuit filed against Havergal… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Man, 66 struck and killed by vehicle in Regina intersection

REGINA — Police in Regina say a 66-year-old man is dead after… Continue reading

Homicide unit investigating after body found in burned SUV in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Homicide detectives have been handed the case after police… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned for re-election on a promise… Continue reading

Impeachment testimony comes from White House budget official

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators met in private Saturday with a White… Continue reading

Football brings some peace to Sioux family after suicide

VERMILLION, S.D. — Teenagers Jashawn and Jayton Pease embraced in the end… Continue reading

St. Mark’s Square reopens in Venice, but water remains high

VENICE, Italy — Tourists and residents were allowed back into St. Mark’s… Continue reading

Most Read