Unfettered aid access is needed in the face of humanitarian catastrophe
AMMAN, JORDAN – The global organization Mercy Corps urges an end to the violence that has once again broken out in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. More than 200 civilians have been killed in the past three weeks.
“Despite the establishment of a de-escalation area in Eastern Ghouta, we have not observed any reductions in violence, and in some areas have seen increases. Innocent civilians are suffering and dying,” says Arnaud Quemin, Mercy Corps Country Director for Syria. “We need an end to the violence and an end to the siege.”
After years of siege, the conditions in Eastern Ghouta are dire. Families report eating animal fodder and even garbage in their attempts to survive, and child malnutrition in Eastern Ghouta has increased fivefold in the past ten months.
“Many of the things people really need – particularly food – are often not available,” says Quemin. “Through our partners, we are continuing to deliver food, blankets and other essential supplies as the conflict permits. Due to scarcity of resources we’re only able to help people who are most vulnerable, but everyone is in dire need of urgent assistance.”
Mercy Corps is currently reaching approximately 42,000 people in Eastern Ghouta with winter clothing and blankets, child protection services as well as food and other supplies. In the past year, Mercy Corps has met the urgent needs of more than 950,000 people across Syria by distributing emergency food and supplies, increasing access to clean water and sanitation, and creating safe spaces and activities to help children deal with the trauma they are experiencing.
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