Shocking situation in Madaya "by no means unique"

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On 11 January 2016 in Madaya, Rural Damascus, women and their families wait for permissions to leave the besieged town. Photo credit: UNICEF/UN07229/Al Saleh, WFP

The siege of Madaya, in which some starving people resorted to eating leaves and grass boiled in water is "by no means unique", according to the UN.

Across Syria, hundreds of thousands of civilians are being held under siege in 15 different locations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Agency (UNICEF).

Veronica Reeves has the story.

An estimated 400,000 people in Syria are currently trapped in besieged parts of the country, according to the UN.

Some of them have been trapped for years on end, barely surviving on very little food or clean water, with virtually no health or other basic services.

Hanna Singer is the UNICEF Representative in Syria.

She says that the situation is stabilizing now that the beleaguered people of Madaya have had something to eat, but that the initial scenes when the first convoy arrived were shocking.

"All have had at least one or two meals, so they are a little bit calmer than last time, because last time when we came it was severe, severe distress."

A second covey of aid trucks reportedly arrived in Madaya on Thursday, loaded with flour, medical and hygiene supplies.

A smaller convoy is en-route to two towns, Foah and Kefraya, where the situation is also reportedly extremely dire.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations.

Duration: 59″

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