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Hunger-stricken children's lives at risk in East Ghouta

Some 1,114 starving children face death because of Assad regime blockade that has been in effect for more than 5 years

October 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm

A member from The White Helmets holds a banner during a protest named “Assad besieges Ghouta” to draw attention the deaths of children due to malnutrition on 26 October 2017 [Fadi al Shami/Anadolu Agency]

More than 1,000 children are at risk of dying due to shortages of food and medicine in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Syria’s capital Damascus due to a blockade by the Assad regime for the last five years.

According to information gathered from Anadolu Agency correspondents in the region, 1,114 starving children face death in Eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 civilians are living within a 105-square-kilometer area.

The region has been under a military siege for the past five years and sometime intense airstrikes.

Water is also a big issue in Eastern Ghouta, where water supply networks have been destroyed because of the regime strikes. The networks also suffered massive damage after chemical weapons attacks which also raised fears of food and water poisoning.

The regime only allows locals to access water through wells, and many young children queue for water to fill their bins.

Read: 397 civilians under siege starve to death in eastern Ghouta

A report published on October 24 by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said “no less than 397 civilians, including 206 children and 67 women, have died due to starvation and a medication shortage particularly between the start of the siege in Eastern Ghouta in October 2012 and October 22, 2017.”

The report points out that “most deaths were among vulnerable groups such as infants, elders, sick people and the wounded”.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in a statement, said a 42-truck interagency convoy delivered food, health, nutrition, education items and children’s clothes for 25,000 people in the besieged towns of East Harasta, Misraba and Modira in eastern Ghouta, rural Damascus on September 23.

“It has been over three months since aid agencies were able to access Eastern Ghouta,” the statement said.

Read: UN warns of ‘shocking’ starvation in besieged Damascus outskirts