UN says success of airdrop aid to Syria is uncertain

United Nations spokesman says first airdrop aid from United Nations to Syria's Deir Ezzor may not have reached target area

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

An elderly man stands along a street as he looks at an aid convoy of Syrian Arab Red Crescent and United Nation (UN) driving through the rebel held besieged city of Douma towards the besieged town of Kafr Batna to deliver aid, Syria, February 23, 2016.

The United Nations carried out its first airdrop of humanitarian aid delivering 21 tons of relief to civilians in the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor on Wednesday, UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said.

"Earlier this morning a WFP (World Food Programme) plane dropped the first cargo of 21 tons of items into Deir al Zor," O'Brien told the UN Security Council. "We have received initial reports ... that pallets have landed in the target area."

However, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric later told reporters the WFP was still trying to get information on where the aid ended up, suggesting that it may not have reached the target area.

"As you know, airdrops can be very challenging," he said. "The pallets were dropped. They're (the WFP) trying to reach local partners to ensure that the aid was received."

The food aid is supposed to be conveyed to the Deir Ezzor residents who face severe food shortages and sharply deteriorating conditions due to a siege by the DAESH terror group.

In the past few days, aid has reached a handful of towns, most recently on Wednesday into Kafr Batna, on the outskirts of Damascus.

The UN says there are 486,700 people in around 15 besieged areas of Syria and 4.6 million in hard-to-reach areas. Of those, about one in 10 is living under siege, cut off from any help. In some areas starvation deaths and severe malnutrition have been reported.

TRTWorld and agencies