UN delivers aid to displaced Yarmouk residents in Syria

Three trucks with baby diaper kits and kits of clothes for children among items delivered, say UN officials.

Palestinians, who fled the Yarmouk refugee camp, queue to receive parcels of humanitarian aid from the European al-Wafaa Campaign in the town of Yalda, southern outskirts of Damascus
Palestinians who fled the Yarmouk refugee camp queue to receive parcels of humanitarian aid in the town of Yalda, Damascus [Reuters]

The UN children’s fund said it had participated in two missions this week to provide humanitarian assistance to families recently displaced from Yarmouk camp, the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized large parts of the devastated Yarmouk camp on the southern suburbs of Damascus last month and have been battling other armed groups inside, putting 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian residents at increased risk.

UNICEF said on Tuesday it was able to deliver three trucks with baby diaper kits, kits for newborn and kits of clothes for children.

Stephane Dujarric, UN Secretary General Spokesperson, said in a press release that in UNICEF’s first mission earlier in the day, the agency delivered kits to treat 3,000 cases of diarrhoea, midwifery kits, as well as boxes of high energy biscuits. 

“According to UNICEF’s staff on the convoys, it’s estimated that some 50,000 people live in three locations that were visited, in addition to about 2,500 Palestinian refugees who fled Yarmouk,” Dujarric said.

A breakthrough but not enough

Juliette Touma, UNICEF’s communication specialist, told Al Jazeera that the mission came in direct support to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, to help their efforts in reaching displaced families.

“We were not able to reach these areas for more than two years. This is why it’s a significant breakthrough and we do hope that we will get more aid delivered to areas that we are not able to reach.

“We need more missions like this one.”

Touma added that her UNICEF colleagues who were on the convoy described the humanitarian situation in these three areas as quite dire. 

“Water sources are contaminated and require treatment before distribution. Only 20% of the wells are functioning while electricity is only available for one hour/day. There is only one doctor in the area compared to 500 before the crisis.

“Prices of basic commodities are four-five times higher,” she added.

Aid workers say violence and a lack of cooperation from sides in the crisis has severely hampered aid access to needy people inside Syria, where the conflict has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions since 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera