8 Jan 2016

Aid to reach starving Syrian town of Madaya by Monday

Aid deliveries bringing food, medical supplies and blankets to three towns in Syria where residents say they are starving to death will begin by Sunday or Monday, a Red Cross official has said. The official called for humanitarian organisations to be granted unimpeded access to all areas under siege in Syria, saying one-off deliveries were not enough to prevent civilians from starving.

Madaya, located 1,300 metres above sea level in a mountainous region straddling the border with Lebanon, is home to 30,000 people who have been under siege since July, as part of a complicated power play.  Their fate is tied to Fua and Kefraya, two Shia villages in northern Syria besieged by rebels belonging to a coalition called Jaysh al-Fateh. Backers of the government and the rebels are attempting to orchestrate a population swap but it has been repeatedly delayed.
Médecins sans Frontières said on Thursday night that 23 people had died of starvation in Madaya since 1 December.