Syrian people living in a "nightmarish reality"

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Kyung-Wha Kang. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

The Syrian people are living in a "nightmarish reality" the UN Security Council has been told.

The 15-member body met Friday for an emergency meeting on the situation in Syria, at the end of a week when reports of starvation in the town of Madaya made headlines around the world.

Veronica Reeves has the story.

"You cannot let more people die on your watch." 

That's Kyung-Wha Kang, speaking to members of the Security Council Friday.

Ms Kang is the UN's Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

"Food, water and medicine are not bargaining chips or favours that the parties to a conflict can grant or deny at will; they are basic necessities that lie at the very essence of survival and the right to life, which this Council and its Members have a responsibility to protect." 

Ms Kang said the desperate situation in the town of Madaya had "shocked the world's conscience with harrowing images of malnutrition and hunger".

She said some 400,000 people were currently trapped in besieged parts of Syria.

"We have requested, called for, insisted and demanded that the conflict be brought to an end, that civilians be protected from the relentless violence and access be granted for life-saving humanitarian assistance. Our requests have mostly gone unanswered and the people of Syria continue to live in a nightmarish reality dictated by a conflict that respects few rules and obeys no laws." 

Dozens of people are said to have died of starvation and malnutrition in Madaya in recent months.

Ms Kang told the Council that at present; at least 19 others may lose their lives if they are not immediately evacuated.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations.

Duration: 1’23″

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