News / Middle East

    Children Starve to Death in Syrian Town Under Siege

    Children Starve in Syrian Town Under Siege From Assad Forcesi
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    Henry Ridgwell
    January 08, 2016 9:25 PM
    Hundreds of children and adults in a Syrian town under siege from government forces are on the verge of dying from malnutrition, aid agencies say. Dozens of people have already died. The situation in Madaya, in Idlib province, is so desperate that residents have reportedly been forced to eat their pets, while others are surviving on grass and leaves. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Henry Ridgwell

    Hundreds of children and adults in a Syrian town under siege from government forces are on the verge of dying from malnutrition, according to aid agencies. Dozens of people have already died. The situation in the town of Madaya, in Idlib province, is so desperate that residents have reportedly been forced to eat their pets, while others are surviving on grass and leaves.
     
    Desperate to make their plight known to the world, the people of Madaya have been posting videos and images of their suffering online. The sunken, pale faces of infants stare out – too weak to cry – on the verge of starving to death.

    Fuaa, Kafraya, and Madaya, Syria
    Fuaa, Kafraya, and Madaya, Syria

    A mother records a visit to a local field hospital with her 7-month-old son. The doctor asks when he was last given milk. A month ago, she answers. We give him water and salt. What about diapers, he asks. We have none – we use plastic bags, she says.
     
    Some doctors are giving out cough syrups to keep children alive. Vickie Hawkins is Executive Director of the aid group Doctors Without Borders, which is supporting a hospital in Madaya.
     
    “People are really starving to death. In the health facility that we’re supporting, we’ve recorded 23 deaths, adults and children," said Hawkins.
     
    Government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad surround the town. They claim opposition fighters are in Madaya and using the population as human shields. Again, Vickie Hawkins of Doctors Without Borders.
     
    “The siege has been tightened over the last three months with the result that really nothing is reaching the population inside Madaya – no fuel, they’ve got no firewood, no food, no medicines, and the situation has become catastrophic," she said.

    The United Nations Security Council has demanded that aid be let through – and is due to debate the situation in Madaya Monday next week. Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the U.N.’s refugee agency said Friday it is planning to send a convoy of aid.
     
    “At the moment we don't have a confirmed date to announce, we will be announcing at the moment that the aid is in and is successfully delivered to these areas," said Edwards.
     
    The situation in Madaya is exceptionally critical. But aid agencies say there are around 2 million people in Syria effectively cut off by the fighting.

    Children and Lebanese activists from the Islamic group Jamaa Islamiya hold a sit-in in solidarity with the Syrian besieged town of Madaya, outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in the Lebanese capital Beirut, Jan. 8, 2016.
    Children and Lebanese activists from the Islamic group Jamaa Islamiya hold a sit-in in solidarity with the Syrian besieged town of Madaya, outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in the Lebanese capital Beirut, Jan. 8, 2016.

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    Comments
         
    by: Igor from: Russia
    January 09, 2016 1:59 AM
    The plight of the innocent people would have been much better if the rebels really care for them by handing the weapons to the government forces. But the terrorists have used those poor people as their human shields to prevent government forces from liberating the town.

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