UN says hundreds need urgent evacuation from besieged Madaya

UN says hundreds need urgent evacuation for medical treatments from besieged Syrian town of Madaya

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Residents who say they have received permission from the Syrian government to leave the besieged town, depart after an aid convoy entered Madaya, Syria.

The United Nations said on Monday at least 400 Syrians on the brink of death must be urgently evacuated from the city of Madaya to receive medical treatments following the delivery of the first humanitarian aid in the besieged town.

On Monday, Vehicles from the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived in Madaya from Damascus in which thousands of civilians are starving to death because of a siege by Syrian regime forces.

UN aid chief officer, Stephen O’Brien said aid workers found at least 400 Syrians suffering from starvation, malnourishment and other sicknesses during a visit to a hospital in Madaya.

"Around 400 are in need of being evacuated for life-saving medical attention," O'Brien told reporters on Monday, after a closed-door UN Security Council meeting.

"They are in grave peril of losing their lives."

"The UN has asked Syrian regime and rebel groups controlling access to the town to allow the 400 Syrians to be taken out of Madaya," he said.

Red Crescent workers stand near their vehicles prior to inspection from rebels before heading to al Foua and Kefraya, in Idlib province, Syria

Permission for secure access must come from "all the parties who govern any of the routes that need to be deployed, either for the ambulances or for any kind of air rescue," said O'Brien.

O'Brien said ambulances sent to Madaya would evacuate the 400 victims of all ages on Tuesday, if safe passage can be guaranteed.

However, it would take some days to distribute aids in Madaya, near Damascus, and the villages of Foua and Kfarya in northern Syria, and the supply would probably be enough to last for months, aid agencies said.  

According to the UN, 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.

Since December 1, at least 28 have starved to death, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

TRTWorld and agencies