Aid workers in Madaya recount horrors on the ground

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A humanitarian convoy on its way to the besieged Syrian town of Madaya. Photo: OCHA Syria

Aid workers in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya are recounting some of the horrors they are witnessing on the ground.

A 16-year-old boy passed away from malnutrition in front of workers from the UN Children's Agency (UNICEF).

Several other children are said to be severely ill from malnutrition and could soon die if they are not immediately evacuated.

Dianne Penn has the story.

Only two doctors are said to be working at a make-shift hospital in the besieged city, according to UNICEF representatives.

The conditions there are distressing, with 22 out of the 25 children under the age of five screened by health professionals showing signs of moderate to severe malnutrition.

Another six children from the ages of six to 18 are showing signs of malnutrition.

They are all now receiving treatment.

Here's UNICEF's Christophe Boulierac.

"A 17-year-old boy is in a life-threatening condition and desperately needs immediate medical evacuation. A pregnant woman in her ninth month with obstructed labour is also in urgent need of evacuation."

The handful of medical professionals left in Madaya are said to be "emotionally distressed and mentally drained, working around the clock with very limited resources".

In a statement, the UNICEF representative for Syria, Hanna Singer said "it is simply unacceptable that this is happening in the 21st Century".

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'05"

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