World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Syria: UN Agency Delivers Supplies to Besieged Camp

Syria: UN Agency Delivers Supplies to Besieged Camp amid ‘Unbelievable Devastation’

New York, Feb 26 2014 - Amid “unbelievable devastation,” the United Nations agency charged with ensuring the well-being of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East has today been able to deliver life-saving supplies to families in a camp on the outskirts of Damascus, where nearly every building is an empty shell and the war-weary, desperate people have suffered unparalleled deprivation.

As massive crowds lined up with “row upon row of gaunt faces,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) distributed 450 food parcels in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk today, bringing to 7,493 the total number of food parcels distributed since 18 January.

“Significantly, the UNRWA team was permitted to work from an UNRWA facility in Yarmouk for the first time since December 2012,” said spokesperson Christopher Gunness, who added: “This represents a highly encouraging step towards re-establishing full services and humanitarian access to Yarmouk.”

The UNRWA team received authorisation to resume food distribution inside Yarmouk at 2 p.m. local time and proceeded from the northern Bateekhah entrance to UNRWA’s Tabgha School. UNRWA vehicles carried 450 parcels to the school, where aid was distributed for about four hours.

“Despite the presence of large crowds, the distribution was orderly with no security incidents or pauses,” said Mr. Gunness, who also emphasized that UNRWA staff were permitted to manage the distribution process in its entirety, without the involvement of third parties.

He said that while intense humanitarian needs remain, UNRWA welcomes this encouraging development and is assured that expanded humanitarian access will be maintained over the coming days. “The Agency stands ready to rapidly re-establish services and increase humanitarian assistance,” Mr. Gunness added.

After fighting broke out late at night on 7 February, forcing UNRWA to temporarily suspend its aid deliveries, the Agency has had only intermittent access to the camp in the past two weeks. An UNRWA food parcel feeds a family of between five and eight for 10 days. There 18,000 Palestinians in the camp and an unknown number of Syrians.

When partial humanitarian access was granted on 18 January and 20 February, UNRWA had successfully distributed 7,000 food parcels, 10,000 polio vaccines and a range of other medical supplements to civilians inside the camp. Prior to the armed conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, Yarmouk – a suburb just south of Damascus – was home to over 160,000 Palestine refugees.

During his visit to the camp two days ago, UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi painted a grim picture of the situation there, telling reporters later that “the devastation is unbelievable. There is not one single building that I have seen that is not an empty shell by now.”

What was even more shocking was the state of the people inside. With much of the camp destroyed and passageways blocked with barricades, “the people coming from within Yarmouk appear suddenly near [our] distribution point. It’s like the appearance of ghosts. These are people that have not been out, that have been trapped in there not only without food, medicines, clean water – all the basics – but also probably completely subjected to fear,” he said.

Since December 2012, fighting has caused at least 140,000 Palestine refugees to flee their homes in Yarmouk, as armed opposition groups established a presence in the area, with Government forces controlling the periphery.

Starvation and illnesses exacerbated by hunger or lack of medical aid have contributed to some 100 people dying in the camp in recent months, according to UN figures.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

DR Congo: Head Of UN Mission Condemns Deadly Rebel Attacks

A MONUSCO APC is greeted by FARDC soldiers on their way back from the front line in the Beni region of the DRC where the UN is backing the FARDC in an operation against ADF militia. Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti More>>

UNESCO Chief Denounces Killing Of Cambodian Journalist

17 October 2014 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today denounced the killing of a Cambodian reporter shot while investigating illegal logging in the eastern part of the country. More>>

Detroit: Impact Of Water Disconnections On Human Rights

GENEVA / NEW YORK (15 October 2015) – Two United Nations human rights experts will visit the city of Detroit (Michigan- USA) from 18 to 20 October 2014, to learn more about the impact of large-scale water disconnections on low-income, marginalized ... More>>

UN Lauds Role Of Family Farmers In Ending Global Hunger

A farmer at work in a dragon fruit field in Viet Nam (July 2013). Photo: FAO/Hoang Dinh Nam | See more photos More>>


Funding Gap Looms Amid Efforts To Tackle Ebola & ISIS

Funding Gap Looms Amid Efforts to Tackle ‘Twin Plagues’ Ebola, ISIL, Warns UN Rights Chief More>>

ALSO:

  • The White House - Ebola: What You Need to Know

  • Egypt Sentences Another Al Jazeera Journalist

    In another disturbing move against freedom of speech and independent journalism in Egypt, one of Al Jazeera Arabic channel’s presenters, Ahmed Mansour, has been sentenced in absentia to fifteen years imprisonment by Cairo’s criminal court on the absurd ... More>>

    ISIL Advance On Iraqi Town Unleash New Flood Of Displacement

    Syrian Kurds from the town of Kobane seeking shelter in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Photo: UNHCR/D. Nahr More>>

    ALSO:

  • U.S. Department of State - U.S. Condemns ISIL Attacks in Iraq
  • U.S Announces Humanitarian Assistance For Palestinians

    Today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced $414 million in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news