UNHCR reports serious shortages of basic supplies in HomsListen /
There are reports of thousands of displaced people living in unheated communal shelters in the embattled Syrian city of Homs.
A UN refugee agency (UNHCR) team is now back in Damascus after a two-day assessment mission to the city says half of the hospitals in Homs are not functional and there are severe shortages of basic supplies ranging from medicine to blankets, winter clothes and children's shoes.
Melissa Fleming is a Spokesperson for the UN refugee agency.
"We also observed there that children have not been able to go to school – many as long as a year and a half and the city hospitals that are not functioning are serving as shelters; 60 per cent of the doctors have left together with other medical personnel. Also there are serious shortages of medicine and medical equipment. Of course to top it all off and as we have been reporting here, it's getting cold."
UNHCR says plastic sheeting is being used to cover open doorways and missing windows in collective centres, as well as to partition rooms. The agency says one staff member is now deployed in Homs, but it intends to further scale up its winter response with more deliveries of heavy blankets, quilts and mattresses.
Donn Bobb, United Nations