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Madaya: UN aid convoy to leave for besieged Syrian town

The plight of the town was highlighted when images of emaciated babies, apparently starving under the siege, surfaced last week

Siobhan Fenton
Monday 11 January 2016 09:17 GMT
A toddler is held up to the camera in this still image taken from video said to have been shot in Madaya, Syria
A toddler is held up to the camera in this still image taken from video said to have been shot in Madaya, Syria (Reuters)

A UN aid convoy is due to enter Madaya, the Syrian town where citizens are starving under government siege, it has been reported.

The town, which is home to some 40,000 people, has been under a siege orchestrated by the Syrian army since July. Images of emaciated corpses and starving babies from the town have shocked the world, amid reports that people are eating pets and grass in their desperation.

A spokesperson for the UN told the BBC that an aid convoy is expected to arrive today to grant emergency relief.

Speaking yesterday, UN refugee agency spokesperson Melissa Fleming said: “We are pretty confident [of the arrival]. I have just got confirmation that our humanitarian convoy will leave tomorrow [Monday] morning.

“This is typical that it takes a while- the administrative hurdles are constant.”

Madaya is a mountain town between the capital and the Lebanese border. It is surrounded by land mines, entrapping its residents and severely restricting food and healthcare supplies.

Médicines Sans Frontières have said that at least 23 patients in the health centre which it supports in the town have died of starvation since 1 December.

The UN aid convoy expected to arrive today comes after President Bashar al-Assad gave into international pressure to allow humanitarian aid to enter for the first time since October.

It is believed that 400,000 people are living in besieged locations around Syria. Blockades orchestrated by government troops are becoming a common tactic in the war in Syria. It is believed that around 250,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict since it began five years ago.

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