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Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
Humanitarian Aid for Syria
Residents waited to leave Madaya, Syria, after a few were cleared for evacuation. (AP)
This week’s snapshot focuses on the humanitarian aid crisis in various Syrian cities under siege, particularly the aid crisis in the Syrian town of Madaya. International organizations leveraged their power to convince the Syrian government to allow aid convoys into the town of Madaya. After reports of severe malnutrition and starvation were verified by the aid distributors, multiple nations and organizations called for a total end to the siege, and punishment for those who forced the humanitarian crisis.
News summary of events during the week of 11JAN16 – 17JAN16
Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about humanitarian aid for Syria
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding humanitarian aid for Syria
Diana Semaan, Syria campaigner, Amnesty International
“It’s clear the government is besieging the area; it’s preventing any food to enter the area in addition to the daily airstrikes that are being carried out against civilians. The situation keeps getting worse.”
Hadeel al-Shalchi, Syria researcher, Human Rights Watch
“You shouldn’t have to have images and stories of starving people come out for the Syrian government to do what’s right. They should be upholding international law to allow humanitarian access to besieged areas.”
Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa director, Amnesty International
“These harrowing accounts of hunger represent the tip of an iceberg. Syrians are suffering and dying across the country because starvation is being used as a weapon of war by both the Syrian government and armed groups.”
Abeer Pamuk, a representative of SOS Children’s Villages in Syria
“They all looked pale and skinny. They could barely talk or walk. Their teeth are black, their gums are bleeding, and they have lots of health problems with their skin, hair, nails, teeth. They are obviously not getting the food they need to grow normally. Thus, the children looked smaller and younger than their real ages.”
Brice de le Vingne, director of operations, Doctors Without Borders
“This is shocking; patients are still dying despite the arrival of two big international humanitarian convoys. Some of the current patients may not survive another day. Medical evacuations for the most critically sick and malnourished need to happen immediately, and it is hard to understand why patients clinging to life have not already been evacuated. Nothing should be allowed to hold this up and everything possible should be done by the warring parties and the agencies involved in the convoys to expedite these evacuations as a life-saving humanitarian act.”
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to humanitarian aid for Syria
1. In Syrian Town Cut Off From the World, Glimpses of Deprivation
Media: New York Times
Byline: ANNE BARNARD and HWAIDA SAAD
Date: 14 January 2016
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Nisrine kept teaching school for months as the siege tightened around the Syrian town of Madaya, but had to give up a few weeks ago when her students got too weak from starvation to walk to class. A local medic has been surviving on the rehydration salts he gives patients, while a business school graduate makes soup from grass for his 70-year-old father, consulting shepherds about which kinds their long-since-slaughtered flocks liked best.
The people of Madaya and neighboring Zabadani have tried, since the siege by pro-government forces began in July, to keep society functioning and adjust to their surreal new set of dynamics. There is the black market across blockade lines, for instance, and the quiet or unexpected ways this type of warfare can kill: heart attacks, stillbirths, a step on a land mine while foraging for food.
And there is the relentless physical and psychological contraction of their communities, only an hour’s drive from Damascus, Syria, and two from Beirut — yet suddenly sealed off from the outside world.
2. Many People in Besieged Syrian Town of Madaya Nearing Death
Media: Voice of America
Byline: Lisa Schlein
Date: 15 January 2016
United Nations aid agencies say many people in the besieged Syrian government-controlled town of Madaya have starved to death, while children suffering from severe levels of malnutrition are barely clinging to life.
The U.N. agencies report people in Madaya are in poor condition after having been deprived of food, medicine and other essential life-giving supplies since October. The agencies succeeded in delivering desperately needed humanitarian aid on Monday, with U.N. aid workers saying they were shocked by what they saw.
The spokesman for the U.N. Children’s Fund, Christophe Boulierac, says the U.N. found severe levels of malnutrition in the children. He says some were so weakened from lack of food that they died in front of those who came too late to help them.
“The people they met in Madaya were exhausted and extremely frail,” he said. “Doctors were emotionally distressed and mentally drained, working around the clock with very limited resources to provide treatment to children and people in need.”
3. Severe malnutrition confirmed in Syria’s Madaya, 32 deaths reported in month: U.N.
Byline: JOHN DAVISON AND STEPHANIE NEBEHAY
Date: 15 January 2016
The U.N. Children’s Fund UNICEF on Friday confirmed cases of severe malnutrition among children in the besieged western Syrian town of Madaya, where local relief workers reported 32 deaths of starvation in the past month.
A mobile clinic and medical team of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent was on its way to Madaya after the government approved an urgent request, and a vaccination campaign is planned next week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Two convoys of aid supplies were delivered this week to the town of 42,000 under a months-long blockade. The United Nations said another convoy was planned to Madaya, sealed off by pro-government forces, and rebel-besieged villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib next week, and that regular access was needed.
4. Madaya: Second aid convoy enters besieged Syrian town
Date: 15 January 2016
A second aid convoy in a week has arrived at the besieged rebel-held Syrian town of Madaya, where people have been dying of starvation.
The first six of 40 lorries carrying wheat flour and medical supplies entered Madaya on Thursday evening.
The UN says 40,000 people are living in appalling conditions in Madaya, which is surrounded by government forces.
A smaller aid convoy also reached two towns under siege by rebels in the country’s north-west on Thursday.
The situation in Foah and Kefraya in Idlib province, where 20,000 people are trapped, is said to be similarly dire.
5. Starvation in Syria ‘a war crime,’ U.N. chief says
Byline: Don Melvin, Nick Paton Walsh and Tim Hum
Date: 15 January 2016
Ali was 16 years old and badly malnourished.
Workers for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, met him in a makeshift hospital in the Syrian city of Madaya. The city is controlled by rebels and under siege by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Its people are starving.
The UNICEF team screened the children they found in the hospital. They found 22 children under the age of 5 suffering from malnutrition, according to a statement Friday from Hanaa Singer, the organization’s representative in Syria. They also found six children between the ages of 6 and 18 suffering from severe malnutrition.
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