The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) spokesperson, Chris Gunness, has said that the children in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria are being forced to eat animal feed to avoid starvation, as the Syrian regime’s strict siege of the camp enters its second year.
According to Gunness, there is widespread malnutrition in Yarmouk and “reports of women dying during childbirth because of shortages of medical care, amid reports of children eating animal feed to survive”.
Gunness further attested that: “There is profound civilian suffering with widespread incidence of malnutrition with the absence of medical care; including for those who have severe conflict-related injuries, and including for women in childbirth – there have been fatal consequences for some of these women. Residents, including infants and children, have been subsisting for long periods on diets of such things as stale vegetables, animal feed and cooking spices dissolved in water. Residents are having to rely on going out on to terraces and burning furniture and branches to warm themselves in the open because wood fires cannot be resorted to indoors. There is a very infrequent supply of tap water – reportedly available for four hours only at intervals of three days.”
Gunness called on the Syrian regime and the fighting parties to allow humanitarian aid into the camp to provide relief for the entrapped Palestinian and Syrian residents.
Since the conflict in Syria broke out, tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees have been forced to flee the Yarmouk camp. Forces loyal to the Syrian regime have placed the remaining residents, as many as 20,000, under a blockade since December 2012. At least 49 have now died of malnutrition.
Source: Al Resalah