Syrian refugees became a huge topic of discussion last year, especially after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Syrians desperately continued to look for homes outside of Syria where they would be safe. Now, in Syrian cities, hunger is becoming a major problem. 400,000 people are suffering in fifteen besieged cities.
The people of Madaya, Syria have been without much needed aid for almost three months. They are slowly dying of starvation, getting more and more weak by the day. When they try to leave the area, they are injured in some way, or even killed. The residents have already slaughtered the city’s stray cats and dogs.
On January 11, the city of Madaya received their first visit from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or UN Refugee Agency. They received the help they terribly needed. The visit was covered on Twitter where pictures and quotes were posted. Some pictures showed small children who were very fragile and tired looking. The children, along with the adults, made leaves as a meal to fill them up or hunted for grass. If they wanted a kilo of rice, they would have to pay at least 300 USD. To put this in perspective, one kilogram is about 2.2 pounds. 20 pounds of rice is available from Wal-Mart fro $8.98.
“They were desperately looking for something while we were offloading cars… kids and everybody around the cars were asking for anything (to eat),” Sajjad Malik, representative of UNHCR, said about the UN’s arrival to Madaya.
It was reported that 300-400 residents were suffering from malnutrition. The people of Madaya lack electricity, blankets, heat of any kind, and most importantly medicine. The UN Refugee Agency delivered blankets to shield the citizens from the harsh weather, more medicine, and food from the 40 vehicles that were miraculously let into Madaya. In the past year, 90% of the requests to deliver aid the area were denied.
Two other cities, Foa’a and Kefraya, were also aided by the UN on January 11. They have been lacking food and basic materials for life since October of 2015.
Madaya was visited again on January 14, along with the cities of al-Fouaa and Kafraya, which have been under a rebel blockade. 44 trucks arrived in Madaya and 20 trucks reached al-Fouaa and Kefraya. Doctors and nurses that came with the UN treated citizens from Madaya that needed urgent treatment.
There is no plan to evacuate starving citizens from Syrian cities, so the people of Syria must rely on aid from the UN for as long as this war is ongoing.