More than 1,100 children are suffering from acute malnutrition in the besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus, the UN children’s fund UNICEF said Monday.
Based on surveys done in recent months, UNICEF said 1,114 children were suffering from various forms of malnutrition, including the most dangerous form, known as “severe acute malnutrition.”
Spokeswoman Monica Awad said assessments in the past three months found 232 children suffering severe acute malnutrition, a level of undernourishment that requires urgent treatment if the child is to survive.
Another 882 were suffering moderate acute malnutrition, with more than 1,500 other children at risk, Awad said.
“During the past month, there has been two reported deaths among infants, one girl aged 34 days and a boy aged 45 days, due to insufficient breastfeeding,” Awad told AFP. “Mothers also don’t have access to quality food, making them frail and unable to breastfeed their children.”
The Syrian Coalition said that the siege and its dire consequences on the civilian population constitute “war crimes,” and violate UN Security Council resolution 2254 which demanded unfettered humanitarian access for those in need.
The Coalition stressed that Russia bears equal responsibility for the siege as it shields the Assad regime against legal consequences in the UN Security Council and international courts. The Coalition has already sent a legal note to the United Nations and international legal organizations in this regard.
The Coalition called upon the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities towards the ongoing suffering of the people of eastern Ghouta so as to ensure that the siege on the area and all the besieged areas across Syria are immediately lifted.
Furthermore, the Coalition called on the United Nations to airdrop aid on eastern Ghouta as the Assad regime continues to tighten the siege. The Coalition said that eastern Ghouta has become a “disaster area” under international law. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)