First aid trucks enter hunger-stricken Syrian town of Madaya

Three trucks carrying long-awaited food and medical supplies on Monday entered the Syrian town of Madaya, where Doctors without Borders (MSF) says almost 30 people have died of starvation after a months-long siege by government forces.

After waiting for four hours at a government checkpoint, the first trucks of the 40-strong convoy moved into the town shortly after 5:30 pm local time (1530 GMT), Red Cross spokesman Pawel Krzysiek, who was accompanying the aid delivery, said.

At the same time, three aid trucks entered the isolated north-western Shiite villages of Foua and Kefraya, which have been besieged by hardline Islamist rebels, Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah said.

A source in the Syrian Red Crescent said some 330 tons of food and medical aid were being sent to Madaya, enough to last for about 40 days.

Located about 25 kilometres north-west of the capital, the town has been under siege since July by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and aided by Hezbollah fighters. It last received supplies in October.

Local activists say residents have been reduced to eating grass and leaves in order to survive. The situation has worsened with winter snowfalls.

More than 20,000 people are currently trapped inside Madaya, according to MSF, which said overnight that five more people had died there due to starvation.

The group last week said 23 people had died of starvation in the town's hospital, since the beginning of December.

The Shiite villages of Foua and Kafraya, in north-western Idlib province, have been besieged by rebels since April.

At least one person has died there due to lack of food and medical supplies, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

MSF said that they have asked for food supplies, special food for treating malnutrition, and a basic package of essential medicines and medical supplies to enable the makeshift hospital in Madaya to keep running.

The group warned that regular supplies to Madaya are essential and a one-time delivery of aid will not be enough.

Last update: Mon, 11/01/2016 - 19:32

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