In the besieged Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta, 400,000 men, women, and children are trapped. They face almost daily attacks and artillery bombardments, they’re starving, and they have severely limited access to healthcare.
Now, for the first time for almost three months, an aid delivery has finally gotten through — after weeks of pleading from the United Nations to allow access to the region.
The delivery has enough food and supplies for 7,200 people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
#Breaking: #Humanitarian aid to #Eastern_Ghouta@SYRedCrescent w/@UN delivering #aid convoy (9 Trucks) to Al-Nishabieh in #Rural_Damascus, #Syria— Syrian Red Crescent (@SYRedCrescent) February 14, 2018
The convoy carried relief items of #food parcels, #flour, #nutrition, #medicines and #medical materials for 1440 #family there. pic.twitter.com/z7zOe1nKXw
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The World Health Organisation also sent 1.8 tonnes of medical supplies — enough for around 10,000 treatments — including antibiotics, dialysis sessions, insulin, trauma kits, pneumonia treatments, and hospital beds, reported Reuters.
The nine trucks in the aid convoy will provide for around 1,440 families. Reuters reported that it isn’t yet clear how the delivery, jointly handled by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, would be distributed.
But it’s not enough.
The UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) Syria director, Jakob Kern, said a lot more convoys like these were needed, and called for an end to the fighting so all civilians in need could be given food and supples.
UN Syrian special envoy Staffan de Mistura told the UN Security Council: “This is fine. But let’s think about it — that is less than 2% [of the population]… we need much more.”
The rebel-held region saw one of its most violent weeks in the nearly seven-year conflict last week, according to Reuters news agency, as President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces — backed by Russia and Iran — ramped up efforts to take the area back from rebels. Hundreds of people have been killed in the area in recent weeks.
Eastern Ghouta, east of the capital city Damascus, is one of the last two rebel-held areas of Syria, with the other being the northwestern province of Idlib.
Jan Egeland, UN humantarian adviser, said earlier this month that Assad’s government had withheld approval for convoys, reported Reuters.
He described it as the worst situation since starvation in the government-besieged own of Madaya near Damascus in late 2015.
The UN has been appealing to the Assad government for weeks to allow aid deliveries through and agree to a ceasefire, as well as allowing the evacuation of an estimated 700 people in the region who are critically ill, reported the BBC.
Following the aid delivery on Wednesday, WHO’s representative in Syria, Elizabeth Hoff, told Reuters that there is no news regarding the evacuation of the critically ill.
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