Damascus – Statements from the United Nations are making a call to action in order to help thousands of people who are dying from hunger in a besieged town located in the west of Damascus, the capital of Syria. It was reported that people in Madaya has not received food since October, and as a consequence, almost 42,00 inhabitants are at risk of starvation.

The intergovernmental organization is asking for humanitarian access to reach people in need, who are in besieged areas in Syria, according to a statement published on Thursday. Several videos have been published on social networks that demonstrate how people have been eating cats and grass to live.

A gaunt toddler was photographed in Madaya, a besieged Syrian town near Damascus. Credit: The Sun

It appears that many people were even eating leaves and grass but because of the snow it is becoming difficult, and salt and water are the only items left, according to Hassan Abu Shadi, a rescue worker contacted by the Washington Post. He added that around one or two people have been dying daily. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has announced there are already approximately 20 deaths.

According to a Tweet from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs from Syria, the Syrian regime has apparently acceded to allow the organization to access people in Madaya, Foah and Kefraya, since the organization wrote the UN welcomed the government of Syria approval to deliver aid to Madaya, while it invited people to participate with the hashtag #Syria_Crisis.

Previously, the Syrian government had permitted organizations to send aid to besieged towns in Syria, but many times the approval has taken weeks or months. According to the UN, the organization is concerned about the difficult situation that nearly 400,000 people who are in besieged areas in Deir Ezzor city, Daraya, Foah, Kafraya and East Ghouta, are living.

“Up to 4.5 million people in Syria live in hard-to-reach areas including nearly 400,000 people in 15 besieged locations who do not have access to the life-saving aid they urgently need. The ongoing conflict continues to hamper the humanitarian response and freedom of movement is restricted by the presence of armed actors and landmines,” wrote the UN.

Specifically in Madaya, there are 42,000 people at risk of starvation and people who want to leave the besieged area have been killed, the UN added saying it had credible reports. The last time the town received an aid convoy was on October 18, since that moment, requests had not been answered

“International humanitarian law prohibits the targeting of civilians. It also prohibits the starvation of civilians as a tactic of war. The UN calls for immediate humanitarian access to all hard-to- reach and besieged areas and for the facilitation of safe evacuation of civilians,” said a statement from United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Activists from the Syrian American Medical Society have been publishing pictures and videos to raise awareness around the world, about the delicate situation in Syria. The SAMS Foundation states that it is a nonprofit humanitarian organization established in 2007. Its volunteer physicians deliver direct medical care in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon.

Source: UN