Humanitarian supplies yet to enter Homs

Children in Syria

United Nations aid agencies in Syria are yet to receive the necessary security guarantees to enable them deliver urgently needed humanitarian assistance to civilians trapped in the old city of Homs.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it was ready to deliver 500 family rations and 500 bags of wheat flour, enough to feed 2,500 people for one month.

WFP will also deliver a specialized nutrition product which helps to treat stunting and acute malnutrition in children and ready-to-eat food rations for women and children who choose to be evacuated from the Old City of Homs if access is granted.

Elizabeth Byrs is WFP spokesperson in Geneva.

"WFP is also calling for ustained access to all parts of Syria where regular access to communities is limited. WFP and partners have had irregular access to other towns in Homs including Al Rastan, Al Houlah, Talbisah, Ter Ma'ala and Ghanto, meaning that food deliveries have only been possible every 3 to 6 months through interagency convoys, when conditions allowed. Elswhere we are increasingly concerned for people living in hard-to-reach areas across the country with no access to food assistance. Over 775,000 people in Al-Raqqa, Al-Hassakeh and Deir Ezzor have not been reached by WFP assistance for consecutive months, while over 40 locations in Rural Damascus remain under siege, affecting an estimated 800,000 people."

UNICEF's Spokesperson Marixie Mercado says the organization has also prepositioned emergency medical and hygiene supplies.

"UNICEF has a list of supplies with the government for approval. This list of supplies includes an emergency medical kit and a cholera treatment kit. It includes soap and hygiene materials, water treatment supplies and oral rehydration salts, winter clothing for infants and polio vaccines."

Humanitarian access for the city of Homs is one key issues that have featured in the ongoing Syrian peace talks in Geneva.

On Sunday the Syrian government said women and children were free to leave the besieged city, while armed groups pledged to allow safe passage for the aid convoy.

However according to United Nations Agencies, the security guarantees were yet to be fulfilled.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

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