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400 people need urgent evacuation from Syria’s Madaya — UN

January 12, 9:57 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
The citizens of the besieged town need treatment for medical conditions, malnourishment and starvation, a United Nations official says
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© EPA/YOUSSEF BADAWI

UNITED NATIONS, January 12. /TASS/. About 400 people in Madaya, a Syrian town where humanitarian aid was delivered on Monday for the first time since October, need to be urgently evacuated, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O'Brien has told reporters.

After a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council, O'Brien said the UN officials who reached Madaya, to the west of Syria's capital Damascus, have confirmed that the town has faced a critical situation.

Both sides of the conflict — the gunmen controlling Madaya and also the government forces besieging the town — bear the responsibility for the lives of citizens, who need treatment for medical conditions, malnourishment and starvation, he said.

O'Brien said the unloading of the convoy with food, medical supplies and essentials is continuing and is complicated by the shortage of electricity. The humanitarian aid delivered to the town will be enough for one month, he added.

The situation in the town of Madaya is not a single case and some 4.5 million people live in besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Syria and need humanitarian assistance, the official said.

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari has rejected the reports of starvation in Madaya as fabrications and lies, stressing that the Syrian government will never carry out "any policy of starvation against its own people."

The closed-door meeting in the UN Security Council was convened upon the request of Spain and New Zealand. After the talks, the diplomats of the two countries called on all the sides in Syria to help ensure humanitarian assistance for the population.

The UN coordinators have earlier called on the conflicting sides in Syria to ensure access to humanitarian aid for people who live in 15 besieged locations in Syria such as Deir Ez-Zor city, Daraya, Foah and Kafraya, as well as East Ghouta.

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