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Aid / Disasters

Syria: siege and starvation in Madaya; immediate medical evacuations and medical resupply essential to save lives

By BS MediaTwitter Profile | Published: Sunday, 10 January 2016
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Since July 2015, a besieging has been obligatory by the Syrian government forces around the town of Madaya, near the border with Lebanon in Syria's Rural Dimash Governorate. Since the single happening food distribution on 18 October, this has been demanding to a total stranglehold besieging.

Around 20,000 residents of the town are facing dangerous deprivation of the basics for survival, and 23 patients in the health centre supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have died of starvation since 01 December. MSF welcomes reports that the Syrian government will allow food supplies into the area, but urges that an immediate life-saving delivery of medicine crosswise the besieging line should besides be a priority, and calls for sick patients to be allowed pressing medical evacuation to safe places of treatment.

Of the 23 people who have died, 6 were under one year old, 5 were over 60 years old, and the other 12 were between five and sixty. 18 were men and 5 were women. This indicates that the situation is poignant all age-groups and some sexes, and makes MSF extremely afraid for the patients presently under treatment, and for the 20,000 residents who have had little to eat for months.

"This is a clear example of the consequences exploitation besieging as a military strategy," says Brice de le Vingne, MSF Director of trading operations. "Now that the besieging has demanding, the doctors we support have empty pharmacy shelves and increasing lines of starving and sick patients to treat. Medics are even resorting to feeding severely foodless children with medical syrups as they are the only source of sugar and energy, thereby fast the consumption of the few leftover medical supplies. As well as provision food, an immediate medical evacuation of sick patients, and an pressing resupply of medicines is the only way to stave off a situation that is now catastrophic."

The situation in Madaya is an extreme example of besiegings that are in place in galore environment of Syria, implemented by some the Syrian government and by Armed Opposition Groups. MSF is very worried about the potential for similar situations to arise in other bebesiegingd zones.

"Madaya is now effectively an open air prison for an estimated 20,000 people, including infants, children and elderly. There is no way in or out, departure the people to die," says de le Vingne. "The medics we support report injuries and death by bullet and landmine wounds from people that tried to leave Madaya. The desperation is acquiring so acute that yesterday there were scenes of riot as people tried to seize the last leftover food available at the MSF-supported food-distribution point, intended to provide for the most vulnerable."

MSF has been supporting a medical facilities and a food distribution point in Madaya since August 2015, when the besieging started alteration around the town. Although difficult, at first it was still possible to arrange supply of food and medicines, but it has more recently become wholly impossible to get thing through the besieging lines.

MSF has specific concerns besides for the medical staff it is supporting. They are working under intolerable conditions, with not yet big medical inevitably now exacerbated by food insecurity and nutrition concerns, and there is an pressing need to resupply them with basic medical essentials.

moreover, the current sub-zero temperatures in this mountainous area cause accrued suffering, particularly for sick patients who are less able to recover in the freeze cold. Fuel for heating must be enclosed in the humanitarian aid, as people trying to collect fuel in the surroundings risk being shot or blown up by landmines.

MSF calls for immediate medical evacuation of sick patients to a safe place for treatment. And MSF equally calls for immediate and unhampered access for life-saving medical supplies for the civilian population in Madaya. This access must be sustained, given that a one-shot distribution now will not alleviate the problems in the months to come.

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