Second aid convoy headed to Syria′s Madaya | News | DW | 14.01.2016
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Second aid convoy headed to Syria's Madaya

More aid trucks are on their way to the besieged town of Madaya as well as the villages of Foua and Kfarya. The UN has warned that more people will die if the siege continues.

A convoy of about 50 trucks is headed towards starvation-hit Madaya, Foua and Kfarya from the Syrian capital Damascus, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN's Humanitarian Office, OCHA.

Aid workers are hoping to deliver more food, blankets, medicine and hygiene products. On Monday, the first convoy arrived in Madaya, delivering the first supply of aid to the starving town in nearly four months.

The town, which is near the border with Lebanon, has been besieged by pro-Syrian government forces for months. More than two dozen people have starved to death, local doctors and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) say.

OCHA's representative in Syria, Sajjad Malik, told reporters on Wednesday that "there is no comparison in what we saw in Madaya," referring to the level of suffering there.

The UN says a total of 50 towns and villages in Syria are under siege, trapping around 400,000 people.

Madaya, Foua and Kfarya are part of a six-month UN-brokered truce that was designed to put an end to hostilities and allow the delivery of aid.

The United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent held talks on Tuesday to evacuate around 400 people from Madaya.

The UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Yacoub El Hillo, warned that "many more will die" unless government forces and rebels lift sieges of towns across the country.

El Hillo said he saw "severely malnourished people" and described the blockades as the "tactic of war" being used by all sides in the nearly five-year conflict.

"It must stop," he said. "Many more will die if the world does not move faster" to end the sieges, which he said were chiefly to blame for the suffering.

Also on Wednesday, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said Syria peace talks were still planned to start in Geneva on January 25 after discussing the situation with representatives of the United States, Russia and other major powers.

With the war approaching its sixth year, UN agencies have appealed for $7.73 (7.1 billion euros) billion in funding to help 22.5 million people affected by the conflict.

ng/ (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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