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Damascus suburb of 400,000 faces "catastrophe" without aid: UN official
By:Xinhua
update:November 10,2017
GENEVA, Nov.10,2017-- The Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta is "besieged" and 400,000 civilians there need humanitarian access otherwise they face a "complete catastrophe", the UN special advisor on humanitarian affairs Jan Egeland said on Thursday.
 
He spoke at a press conference after a meeting of the Humanitarian Task Force on Syria, noting that a "very bleak report" was delivered from the UN side.
 
In Eastern Ghouta, Egeland said there are signs of "acutely malnourished" children and people are dying because it is impossible to have a medical evacuation.
 
There had been de-escalation period in many areas and he said it helped a lot in terms of less displacement, less killing and less civilians maimed and killed.
 
He said the UN is getting reports of attacks against civilian and their displacement from Idlib and Aleppo in the northwest through Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in the north and east and intensively in the central regions east of Damascus in Hama and elsewhere
 
The reports of attacks on civilians, however, are worst in Eastern Ghouta "which is the area just next to the capital, Damascus city", said Egeland.
 
"This epicenter of suffering has 400,000 civilians -- men, women and children in a dozen besieged towns and villages."
 
It has been sealed off completely since September where before that there had been some access with commercial and other traffic. "Now the only lifeline would be our convoys," said Egeland.
 
UN and humanitarian organizations were again unsuccessful getting convoys into these areas with food and medical supplies, although a week ago, three convoys got through with the first supplies in many months.
 
The United Nations has tried since May to have a large medical evacuation where medical services are badly hit by the war and a lack of medical supplies.
 
Seven people have already died because they were not evacuated, and 29 more are at imminent risk, including 18 children.
 
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