Syria: too little too late says NGO as aid finally gets through

Boy child syria

​Aid charity fires broadside at international community for failing desperate civilians in Syria 

2nd June 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Save the Children has issued a strongly worded response to the lack of effort from the international community to help Syrians as the first aid convoy since 2012 entered the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya earlier this week.

Vehicles carrying medicine, baby milk and vaccines entered the the area on Wednesday (1 June) but while the news was welcomed the aid group slammed western governments for their “empty words and promises”.

The supplies, which do not contain food, was organised by the Red Cross.

The United Nations (UN) had set a deadline for 1 June to deliver aid to besieged areas in Syria, which was part of an agreement for a cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Russia. More than a million people are living under siege.

However Sonia Khush, head of Save the Children in Syria, said people were dying because the international community showed little effort. 

The international community cannot let another deadline slide by

“Starving Syrian children can’t eat more empty words and hollow promises,” she said.

“The international community set 1 June as the deadline to get vital aid into besieged areas, yet malnourished families are still being denied food aid.

“It’s good news that people in Daraya today received their first official aid delivery since 2012, but it is shocking and completely unacceptable that the trucks are prevented from bringing any food.”

The charity said people its workers had spoken to in Daraya told of children reduced to skin and bones, too weak and hungry to stand up.

Many other areas are cut off from aid and there are more than 4.5 million people inside Syria who are still trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

Khush added: “In the last month only 3% of them received any UN aid at all. People desperately need aid and they must not be made to wait a moment longer.

“The international community cannot let another deadline slide by – it must step up pressure on the parties to the conflict to allow full and sustained humanitarian aid.”

Daraya was once a suburb of a quarter of a million people but now has just 8,000 people living in it.

The town was subjected to a concerted attack in the summer of 2012, when government forces stormed the opposition stronghold and left hundreds dead.

Daraya has since been daily targeted by barrel bombs which have destroyed much of the city.

These bombs are used by the Assad regime and consist of barrels packed with explosives. Dropped from helicopters, they are hugely inaccurate and are blamed for causing hundreds if not thousands of civilian deaths in the war ravaged suburbs.