An aid convoy arrived in the Syrian town of Madaya on Monday.
The residents of the town, which has been under siege for six months, have been trapped without any supplies and several have reportedly died as a result of starvation.
Food and medical supplies reached Madaya in trucks. “Offloading of aid expected to last throughout night,” Pawel Krzysiek, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in a tweet. According to Reuters, another convoy arrived in the villages of Foura and Kefraya.
Krzysiek said upon his arrival, “The people… were coming every five minutes asking, ‘listen did you bring food, did you bring medicine?’ Some are smiling and waving at us but many are just simply too weak, with a very bleak expression, too tired.”
Hiba Abdel Rahman narrated the harrowing account of residents in the town. “For 15 days we have been eating only soup,” she said. “I saw a young man killing cats and presenting the meat to members of his family as rabbit. Some people went through garbage bins, others ate grass. We sought food from the fighters but they refused to give it to us.”
Around 44 lorries operated jointly by the United Nations, the ICRC, the Syrian Red Crescent and the World Food Program arrived in Madaya from Damascus, BBC reports. Another 21 lorries arrived in Foah and Kefraya. The supplies these vehicles were carrying included food items like rice, vegetable oil, sugar and salt, and water, blankets and medical supplies.
As many as 67 people have perished in the last two months as a result of starvation or scarcity of medical supplies, Dr. Mohammed Yousef, heading a local medical team, said. Brice de la Vigne, from the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said it was a “horrific” situation in Madaya, adding that almost 250 people in the town were suffering from “acute malnutrition.”
Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said, “Look at the grotesque starve-or-surrender tactics the Syrian regime is using right now against its own people. Look at the haunting pictures of civilians, including children – even babies – in Madaya, Syria. There are hundreds of thousands of people being deliberately besieged, deliberately starved, right now. And these images, they remind us of World War Two; they shock the conscience. This is what this institution was designed to prevent.”