Starving Syrians: A untold story of horrible death
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2016-01-13 07:01:40

Starving Syrians: A untold story of horrible death

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The town, Madaya, is controlled by rebels and encircled by pro-government forces with barbed wire, land mines and snipers. People there make soups of grass, spices and olive leaves. They eat donkeys and cats. They arrive, collapsing, at a clinic that offers little but rehydration salts. Neighbors fail to recognize neighbors in the streets because their faces are so sunken.Syria, once classified as a middle-income country, now reports periodic malnutrition deaths. At least 28 people, including six babies, have died from hunger-related causes at a clinic in Madaya aided by Doctors Without Borders, medics there say. And the 42,000 people that the United Nations counts as trapped in Madaya are about a tenth of those stranded in besieged or hard-to-reach areas as conditions grow steadily worse. Their plight represents a stark failure of international powers that has worsened even as they intensify military and diplomatic activities, all in the name of resolving the conflict. This is happening as the United Nations plans a new round of peace talks for Jan. 25. It is happening amid escalating military interventions by Russia and the United States. And in some ways, according to diplomats and humanitarian workers, it is happening not just despite those efforts, but also because of them, as the warring parties flout international law while being courted for negotiations. Over 50,000 people are facing extreme hunger since July as the government and rebels attempt to orchestrate a population swap; the price of staple foods have gone through the roof with a single kilogram of rice costing over $250. At least 23 people are reported to have died of starvation in Madaya already. Families have resorted to eating grass, leaves and spice-flavoured water to survive through each day. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that the world has sat on the knowledge that the residents of these towns have been dying a slow death for over six months before the tragic images made it onto social media. Every resident of the town of Madaya is reported to have lost over 15 kilograms in their weight. The hunger is made worse by the biting cold and the fear of landmines on any route out of these towns. The UN has declared that the Syrian government has finally allowed access to the towns. The process of delivery of food, blankets and medical supplies by the Red Cross to the three starving towns has begun. The Red Cross has asked for unimpeded access to all areas under occupation. The human rights organisation is clear than any one-off supply will not be enough to reduce people’s suffering. Western governments have been urged to use airdrops to provide emergency supplies, like the airdrops for the besieged Yazidis in Iraq. Madaya is not on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, it is already a humanitarian catastrophe. It is a shame that it has taken the world so long to recognise this, despite Syria being in the news every day of the news cycle. Media coverage has focused on the fanstatical images of Isis instead of focusing on the real humanitarian tragedy taking place in Syia. The UN estimates that 400,000 Syrian civilians are trapped in 15 besieged locations without access to medical aid. The cost of five years of civil war is only just emerging. The use of hunger as a weapon of war by both sides of the conflict has only made their war crimes greater. But with the world a participant in these war crimes, there is little hope that the slow starvation of thousands of people in Syria will come to an end any time soon.

pk.shafaqna.com

 

 

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Tags:   ISIS ، Syria ، Bashar Al Assad ، Madaya ، FSA ،
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