UN plans to drop food aid to besieged town of Deir Ezzor

United Nations says its food aid agency World Food Programme plans to carry out airdrops of food aid to Syrian town of Deir Ezzor, which is besieged by DAESH terrorist group

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) plane lands near makeshift shelters housing internally displaced people (IDPs) at the M'Poko international airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, February 13, 2016.

The United Nations announced on Thursday that it plans to make its first airdrops of food aid to the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor whose residents face severe food shortages and sharply deteriorating conditions due to a siege by the DAESH terror group.

Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Jan Egeland, who chaired a three-hour meeting of the humanitarian task force on Syria, said the UN’s food agency World Food Programme (WFP) has a “concrete plan” for carrying out the airdrops in coming days, during a press conference held in Geneva.

He said the WFP hoped to make progress reaching "the poor people inside Deir Ezzor,” adding that “this can only be done by air drops" as aid agencies do not have direct access to besieged areas.

"It's a complicated operation and would be in many ways the first of its kind," Egeland said, giving no further details about the air operation.

Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, speaks during the Task Force on Humanitarian Access in Syria's first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, February 12, 2016.

Egeland’s statement came a day after 114 UN trucks delivered food and medical supplies to 80,000 people in five besieged areas.

These were Madaya, Zabadani and Mouadamiya al-Sham near Damascus, which are under siege by Syrian regime forces, and the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib Province, surrounded by opposition forces.

The regime approved access to seven besieged areas in the conflict-torn country on Tuesday after international criticism arose when photos of children suffering from malnutrition in Madaya hit social media.

The UN estimates there are 486,700 people in around 15 besieged areas of Syria and 4.6 million in hard-to-reach areas. In some, starvation deaths and severe malnutrition have been reported.

TRTWorld and agencies