Madaya: Another 16 people 'starve to death' in besieged Syrian town

Médecins Sans Frontières says 33 people in danger of dying from severe malnutrition

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The Independent Online

Another 16 people have starved to death in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The humanitarian charity also says there are at least 320 cases of malnutrition in the town, including 33 people in danger of dying from severe malnutrition.

The latest deaths bring the number of those reported to have died of starvation to 46 since December, MSF say.

Weakened, cold and starving to death in Syrian town

Madaya, a former holiday resort in mountains near the Lebanese border, has been under siege by the Syrian army and allies from the Lebanese Hezbollah militia for six months.

They have cut the town off from food and drink supplies and are preventing residents from escaping by filling the surrounding countryside with land mines. 

Up to 40,000 people have been forced to turn to leaves and flower petals to stay alive, after eating all of the town's stray dogs and cats.

Brice de la Vigne, MSF operations director, said: "It is totally unacceptable that people continue to die from starvation, and that critical medical cases remain in the town when they should have been evacuated weeks ago.

"The warring parties responsible for these besiegement strategies need to allow unhindered medical and humanitarian access immediately."