11 January 2016
Three Red Cross aid convoys are delivering life-saving food, water and healthcare to Syrian people in the beseiged areas of Madaya, Kafraya and Foua.
Aid deliveries by Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)and United Nations (UN) aid workers took place on Monday (11 January) and will continue for two more days.
Speaking from Syria, ICRC spokesman Pawel Krzysiek said: “It’s really heartbreaking, you see a lot of people on the street, some of them smiling to us and waving to us but many simply too weak with a very, very bleak expression, very tired.”
‘Did you bring food?’
“I was just approached by a little girl and her first question was just ‘Did you bring food?...Because we are really hungry,’and I believe she looked hungry,” addedKrzysiek.
As well as food and water the Red Cross is delivering essential medicines for children, people with chronic health conditions and emergency surgical supplies to treat up to 200 seriously wounded people at each location.
Around 60,000 people are believed to be trapped in the three settlements. Recent images reportedly showing emaciated children from Madaya threw a spotlight on the food shortages in these besieged communities.
Access roads to these besieged towns in Syria have been blockaded making them difficult to enter and just as hard to leave. No aid has reached these communities since October 2015.
Regular access is essential
Marienne Gasser, head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, said: "The operation has started. It is likely to last a few days. This is a very positive development. But it must not be just a one-off distribution. To relieve the suffering of these tens of thousands of people, there has to be regular access to these areas.”
Last month, following local agreements, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the ICRC helped to evacuate 338 people in need of urgent medical help - and their close relatives - from Kafraya and Foua, and 126 people from Zabadani.
"We have to remember that there are more than 400,000 people living in besieged areas across Syria,” added Gasser.
“The suffering is intense. Aid agencies must be given safe and unimpeded access to all these people to provide them with the aid they need, especially now in the midst of winter."
- You can help people in Syria. Money raised from the British Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal supports relief work in Syria and neighbouring countries. Please donate today.
- The British Red Cross delivers food aid through our partner the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Find out more about our work in Syria