20,000 in danger of starving to death in Yarmouk: UNRWA

20,000 in danger of starving to death in Yarmouk: UNRWA
Sun Apr 20, 2014 09:06:19

The United Nations has warned that more than 20,000 civilians are in imminent danger of starving to death in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp.

The looming humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, was described as “beyond desperate” by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) on Saturday.

A fragile agreement between the warring factions to allow food into the camp has broken down, and for 10 days no food has been allowed through a blockade of the area.

Chris Gunness, of UNRWA, said: “This is the 10th consecutive day that UNRWA has been unable to distribute food assistance. Given that a food parcel lasts for a maximum of 10 days, from tomorrow [Sunday] there will be no UN food in the camp.”

“Even before this there were reports of deaths from starvation, mothers feeding their children with grass and spices picked up from the street. The situation in Yarmouk was already desperate. Now it is beyond desperate.”

Until the outbreak of war in Syria, Yarmouk was a thriving haven for as many as 250,000 Palestinian refugees living alongside thousands of Syrians. But in December 2012 the area was infiltrated by militant groups.

Civilians who could not escape found themselves trapped as clashes reduced most buildings to rubble. In July 2013, Syrian armed forces succeeded in imposing a tight blockade around the foreign-backed militants in the district. It wasn’t until January this year that a fragile agreement was brokered between all warring factions to allow in food. 

Gunness said even before the deal’s breakdown, the situation had been critical for some 18,000 Palestinians and more than 2,000 Syrian civilians trapped in Yarmouk. He said: “Only about 100 food parcels a day were getting through; 700 were needed.”

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

More than 150,000 people have been reportedly killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over three years.


string(1795) "[{"id":"1561473","sort":"3194063","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/01/alalam_635268751329289504_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Hundreds evacuated from Syria’s Yarmouk"} ,{"id":"1562781","sort":"3194064","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/05/alalam_635272203067196821_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Polio vaccination begins in Syria's Yarmouk camp"} ,{"id":"1564552","sort":"3194065","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/11/alalam_635277063042910911_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Palestinians in Yarmouk gain ground against Syria militants"} ,{"id":"1566306","sort":"3194066","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/16/alalam_635281574309168133_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Most militants have left Syria's Yarmouk: Palestinian official"} ,{"id":"1573318","sort":"3194067","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/07/alalam_635298289315316003_25f_4x3.mp4","title":"Palestinians defeat al-Nusra militants in Syria’s Yarmouk"} ,{"id":"1573377","sort":"3194068","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/08/alalam_635298622125331217_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIL terrorists return to Yarmouk, abuse Palestinians"} ,{"id":"1573739","sort":"3194069","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/09/alalam_635299543590276069_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria militants hinder aid delivery into Yarmouk camp"} ,{"id":"1574173","sort":"3194070","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/10/alalam_635300553838246753_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Yarmouk residents hunted between al-Nusra and ISIL brutality"} ,{"id":"1577190","sort":"3194071","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/19/alalam_635308192252561791_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"UN relief workers resume work in Syrian Yarmouk camp"} ,{"id":"1579967","sort":"3194072","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/28/alalam_635316239110033276_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Thousands trapped in Syria’s Yarmouk camp amid violence"} ]"