Families, Kids Eat Leaves To Survive In Syrian Town Of Madaya

Families, Kids Eat Leaves To Survive In Syrian Town Of Madaya
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A siege that has lasted for months by pro-government forces is causing starvation among residents of a southern Syrian town.


In the town of Madaya, people have resorted to eating leaves, grass and water flavored with spices. Some people have killed and consumed their pets. The cost of one kilogram of rice in the town is as much as $250. Louay, a social worker from the town, said in an interview with the Guardian, “People are dying in slow motion. We had some flowers growing in pots at home. Yesterday, we picked the petals and ate them, but they were bitter, awful.”

Since early July, the town of Madaya has been under siege; as a result, around 30,000 people have been trapped in town. The situation has worsened with cold weather and scarcity of supplies. There is a shortage of electricity and diesel fuel.

A video of a young boy and a child with sunken eyes, caused by starvation, was shared by medical workers and activists. A local official, Samir Ali, said that people were removing interior doors from their homes and burning them for heat. He said that 2.2 pounds of crushed wheat was priced at about $250 and 31 ounces of powdered milk had shot up to as much as $300.

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In the recent weeks, 10 deaths out of 23 were as a consequence of shortage of food. The remaining were either fatally shot or blown up by mines, Rami Abdurrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Ali said that there are 25 checkpoints that prevent people from leaving, as reported by CBS News.

“Whether you are a man, woman, child, whether you’re 70 or 20 years old, you will have lost about 15 kg of your weight,” Ebrahem Abbass, who had served as a sergeant in the Syrian army, said. “You don’t see a child whose eyes aren’t sunken and staring from hunger.”

The villages of Foua and Kfarya in the Idlib province have been besieged for more than a year. In September, insurgents captured a nearby air base that was used by helicopters to drop off food supplies – vegetables, rice and bread – to approximately 30,000 people in the area.

Hussein Mahdi Kazem, who spoke from a bed in Hezbollah’s Rasoul al-Azam Hospital south of Beirut, said, “Our life was catastrophic in Foua and Kfarya.”

The Syrian National Coalition, a Western-backed Syrian opposition group, urged the international community to help allow aid into Madaya. They said that delaying the same “will lead to more deaths among innocent civilians.” Salah Hamawi, member of the coalition, said, “Children, women and elderly are dying as a result of hunger and cold.”

“Life is miserable. People cannot find a pill of aspirin or painkillers,” Mohsen Darwish, a Shiite cleric from Kfarya, said. “Their dream is to eat vegetables.”

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