Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Friday that medics it supports in the besieged town of Madaya confirmed five deaths from starvation since the first humanitarian convoy arrived on the afternoon of 11 January.
MSF called in “the strongest terms for an immediate medical evacuation to safe places of treatment for the most critically malnourished and sick, to avoid further loss of life.”
The medical charity organization announced that 23 patients died of starvation in Madaya in December, five more on Sunday 10 January, and another two on Monday 11 January, as the first convoy was en-route. The latest five deaths mean there are now 35 deaths from starvation confirmed by the MSF-supported medics in Madaya.
“This is shocking; patients are still dying despite the arrival of two big international humanitarian convoys,” says Brice de le Vingne, Director of Operations for MSF. “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 on to life have not already been evacuated.”
He calls upon agencies involved in the aid convoys “to expedite these evacuations as a life-saving humanitarian act.”
The MSF-supported medics have identified eighteen critical patients that need to be immediately evacuated or risk imminent death. A larger number will either need evacuation or medical care from malnutrition-experienced personnel in the following days.
“Providing medical care to severe malnourished patients is technically complex, and just giving therapeutic food without experience of treating malnutrition could send a patient into oedema. The most critical patients need to be treated in a hospital environment with skilled medical staff and appropriate medical infrastructure.”
MSF also advised that pregnant and lactating women should be evacuated immediately.
“We raise the strongest possible alarm that some of the patients that need urgent hospitalization are about to die if they are not medically evacuated immediately,” says de le Vingne. “This is the current emergency, while other essential medical follow-up activities need to be pursued in the coming days.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)