UN: ‘Loom­ing catas­tro­phe’ in four be­sieged towns

The Miracle - - Nat & Int. News -

A se­nior UN of­fi­cial in Syria has warned of a “loom­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe” in four be­sieged towns and called on all play­ers in the con­flict to al­low safe pas­sage for life-sav­ing aid to some 60,000 trapped civil­ians. Ali al-Zaatari, the UN hu­man­i­tar­ian co­or­di­na­tor for Syria, warned of dire con­di­tions in Zabadani, Ma­daya, Fua and Ke­fraya; towns be­sieged by gov­ern­ment troops and the Le­banese armed group Hezbol­lah. “Sixty-thou­sand in­no­cent peo­ple are trapped there in a cy­cle of daily vi­o­lence and de­pri­va­tion, where mal­nu­tri­tion and lack of proper med­i­cal care pre­vail,” he said in a state­ment re­leased late on Mon­day. “The sit­u­a­tion is a loom­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe. The prin­ci­ple of free ac­cess to peo­ple in need must be im­ple­mented now and with­out re­peated re­quests.” Zaatari added that the sit­u­a­tion was com­pli­cated by the “tit-for-tat ar­range­ment” be­tween the towns, whereby no aid can be pro­vided to Ma­daya and Zabadani with­out sim­i­lar ac­cess to Fua and Ke­fraya, and vice versa. The link­age “makes hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­cess prone to painstak­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions that are not based on hu­man­i­tar­ian prin­ci­ples”, he said. “This has pre­vented med­i­cal cases from re­ceiv­ing proper treatment and evac­u­a­tion. Peo­ple are in need, and they can­not wait any longer. We need to act now.” Fua and Ke­fraya, the last two gov­ern­men­theld vil­lages in Idlib prov­ince, are sur­rounded by a rebel al­liance in­clud­ing Jab­hat Fateh al-Sham (for­merly al-Qaeda’s Syr­ian branch). The UN’s last hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­cess to the four towns was in Novem­ber, the state­ment said, with­out di­rect­ing blame for the lack of ac­cess on one side or the other. Ear­lier this month, the UN said it had been able to de­liver aid to just 40,000 peo­ple in be­sieged and hard-to-reach ar­eas in Jan­uary, de­spite re­quest­ing ac­cess to more than 900,000 peo­ple. That made Jan­uary the worst month for hu­man­i­tar­ian de­liv­er­ies in nearly a year, with ap­proval re­ceived for just one of 21 hu­man­i­tar­ian con­voys pro­posed by the UN, the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross and the Syr­ian Arab Red Cres­cent. Ac­cord­ing to Siege Watch, a mon­i­tor­ing group that tracks be­sieged com­mu­ni­ties, more than one mil­lion Syr­i­ans live un­der siege in Da­m­as­cus gover­norate, Idlib gover­norate, Homs and Deir Az Zor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.