The UN said Tuesday it brought aid to just 40,000 Syrians last month despite requests to the Assad regime for access to more than 900,000 people. The sharp decline made January the worst month for humanitarian deliveries in nearly a year.
Only one of 21 humanitarian convoys proposed by the United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross and Syrian Arab Red Crescent was approved, said Yara Sharif, spokeswoman for the UN’s Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.
“January marked the worst month since March 2016” when the UN-backed humanitarian taskforce for Syria was launched, Sharif told reporters in Geneva.
De Mistura is “alarmed at the failed humanitarian access” last month, Sharif said. She added that some areas have been cut off from humanitarian aid for over 100 days.
Pro-regime forces have repeatedly blocked convoys to areas under their control. Plans to distribute aid have had previous provisional approval, only to be blocked before trucks can start rolling.
Sharif said the UN wants to reach 4.72 million Syrians in hard-to-reach areas, including 600,000 people trapped in places besieged mainly by pro-regime forces.
De Mistura earlier this week set February 20 as the date for the resumption of negotiations in Geneva. However, the Assad regime continues to breach the truce and has so far refused to implement the humanitarian articles set out in the UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Activists on Tuesday said that a civilian died of acute renal failure in the besieged town of Madaya in Rural Damascus after doctors had failed to offer him help due to lack of medical supplies resulting from the siege imposed on the town by regime forces and allied militias. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)