Hundreds must be urgently evacuated from besieged Syrian town

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Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, speaks to journalists following his closed-door briefing to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Hundreds of people could die if they are not immediately evacuated from the Syrian town of Madaya.

UN humanitarian officials have made that call following an emergency Security Council meeting on the situation in the besieged town.

Veronica Reeves has the story.

As aid convoys rolled into Madaya for the first time since October, the scene on the ground appeared dire, with the UN's top humanitarian official, Stephen O'Brien saying hundreds could die if they are not immediately evacuated.

"Around 400 people have been identified who must be evacuated immediately. We must seek to do this and put the arrangements in place for medical treatment, although they are in great peril of losing their lives and dying with either the causes being from malnutrition or for complications for other medical reasons."

Late last week, the Syrian government gave its approval for the UN to access Madaya and the two other towns, Foah and Kefraya.  This, following what the UN called "credible reports" of people starving to death there.

Previous requests for access to such isolated areas were largely turned down. 

According to the UN, only 10 per cent of such access requests for the delivery of aid were granted over the past year.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations.

Duration: 1’00″

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