'My Daughter Could Die at any Moment': A Conversation with the Mother of a Starving Child in Eastern Ghouta

Published November 1st, 2017 - 06:00 GMT
“I couldn’t even find her a piece of bread yesterday,” the mother lamented. “I had to give her water with a little bit of sugar” (AFP/File)
“I couldn’t even find her a piece of bread yesterday,” the mother lamented. “I had to give her water with a little bit of sugar” (AFP/File)

 

  • Eight-year-old Rahat Havva was rescued from under the rubble of a regime attack four years ago
  • She now stands on the verge of death due to malnutrition and lack of medicine
  • Rahaf contracted a crippling disease two years ago, which has left her largely confined to her bed
  • The mother lost her husband to gunfire, as well as her eldest daughter, mother and older sister to a regime missile attack

 

An ongoing regime siege on the Eastern Ghouta region of Syrian capital Damascus has pushed the local population to the verge of famine, including eight-year-old Rahaf Havva, who weighs only 10 kilograms.

A main opposition stronghold on the outskirts of Damascus, Eastern Ghouta has remained under siege by Syrian regime forces since Dec. 2012.

The blockade has left the area’s roughly 400,000 inhabitants struggling with malnutrition and a severe lack of healthcare.

In recent months, the regime has ratcheted up its blockade, preventing local residents from bringing desperately-needed commodities through tunnels or acquiring them from intermediaries.

Um Betul, the mother of Rahaf -- who was rescued from under the rubble of a regime attack four years ago -- said her daughter now stood on the verge of death due to malnutrition and a lack of medicine.

“I’m watching my daughter and cannot do anything. She is dying because we have no access to medicine,” Um Betul said.

Rahaf contracted a crippling disease two years ago, which has left her largely confined to her bed.

 

 

“Her disease, however, could not be diagnosed as we have been unable to administer a blood test,” her mother lamented.

After losing her husband to gunfire -- while he was trying to bring humanitarian aid into Ghouta -- four years ago, Um Betul lost her eldest daughter, mother and older sister to a regime missile attack.

“Doctors said I should pray for Rahaf as there is no longer any hope for her life,” she lamented. “My daughter could die at any moment.”

“Rahaf is already sick. I don’t want her to go hungry as well,” she said.

“I couldn’t even find her a piece of bread yesterday,” she lamented. “I had to give her water with a little bit of sugar.”

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced, according to U.N. figures.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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