WFP: 32 Syrians died of starvation in Madaya in the last 30 days
Syrian children wait on the outskirts of the besieged rebel-held Syrian town of Madaya, on January 11, 2016, after being evacuated from the town. (AFP/Louai Beshara)
At least 32 Syrian people died from starvation in the Syrian town of Madaya within the last 30 days, World Food Program spokeswoman Bettina Luscher said in Geneva Friday.
UN Children's Fund also described the death of a severely malnourished 16-year-old boy near its clinic in Madaya.
"UNICEF is particularly saddened and shocked to have witnessed the death of Ali, a severely malnourished 16-year-old boy who passed away in the town’s clinic in front of our eyes," spokesman Christophe Boulierac told a press conference.
The UN body screened 25 children under five for malnutrition; 22 of those children showed signs of moderate to severe malnutrition, Boulierac said.
A mobile clinic is on its way to Madaya, World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said in Geneva at a press briefing.
On Thursday, UN was able to send 10 trucks with a similar range of supplies to two other besieged areas, Foah and Kafraya benefitting the estimated 6,000 children trapped in the area, UNICEF said.
UN agencies Thursday called on all parties to the conflict in Syria to facilitate "immediate and uninterrupted humanitarian access to all areas throughout the country".
A second UN aid convoy this week reached Madaya Thursday.
In a joint statement, UNICEF and the WHO said: "The access granted for limited deliveries of humanitarian supplies is not enough.
"The immediate lifting of sieges in Syria is required, followed by assessments of health and other needs of the population, the provision of on-site medical and nutritional therapeutic care and the evacuation of the wounded and sick to be treated."
The organizations said their teams had come across distressed and hungry children, along with adults suffering from severe malnutrition.
Children in Madaya had also not been vaccinated against diseases such as polio or measles, the agencies added.
More than four million people live in hard-to-reach areas in Syria, the UN statement said, adding: "siege and the denial of humanitarian access to civilians continue to be used as a tactic of war in violation of international humanitarian law".
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