UNICEF: Over 20,000 children starving in besieged Madaya

UNICEF says more than 20,000 children on brink of starvation in town of Madaya close to capital Damascus besieged by Assad regime

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Syrian children carry placards as they call for the lifting of the siege off Madaya and Zabadani towns in Syria, in front of the offices of the U.N. headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon

Updated Jan 9, 2016

More than 20,000 children in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya are at risk of further hunger and starvation, the United Nations Children's Fund said on Friday.

Almost 42,000 people remaining in Madaya are at risk of further hunger and starvation and half of them are children, UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told journalists in a press conference at the UN Office in Geneva on Friday.  


The Syrian regime has agreed to allow aid into the besieged town, where residents are reportedly starving to death, the UN said on Thursday.

The UN said the aid delivery will reach to Madaya in coming days.

Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite militia and Assad ally, has planted land mines and established checkpoints encircling the town in order to prevent the civilian population from leaving.

In addition, the Shiite militia has reportedly not been allowing any humanitarian aid to reach the embattled town - which is predominantly Sunni - for more than six months.

Apart from providing aid to Madaya, the UN will also provide assistance to two other towns - Foah and Kefraya - in the Syrian province of Idlib which are besieged by opposition groups, the latest UN statement on the subject added.

The Syrian conflict, which will enter its sixth year in the coming months, has left more than 250,000 people dead and turned the country into the world's largest source of refugees and displaced persons, according to the UN.

The has been controversy over the number of deaths. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claims that at least 260,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to its latest published report.

Nearly eight million people have been internally displaced and more than four million have fled to nearby countries since the conflict started.


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