Videos expose starving children in besieged Syrian village
(Madaya community page/ Facebook)
Published Thursday, January 7, 2016 12:09PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 7, 2016 5:20PM EST
Syrians in a town under siege are posting heartbreaking videos of children they say are dying of starvation.
The Medical Authority of Madaya released two dramatic videos of ill children earlier this week which have since been shared extensively on social media.
One shows a boy, his ribcage clearly visible on his emaciated chest, smiling weakly and telling the camera operator he hasn’t eaten in seven days. The other shows an emaciated baby in a diaper, with dark circles under his eyes, crying out in distress.
(Warning: Some may find the videos below distressing)
هنااااا مضايا طفل لم يتناول الطعام منذ اسبوع حسبي الله ونعم الوكيل اين المجتمع الولي والسيد دي مستورا........Posted by الهيئة الطبية في مضايا on Wednesday, 6 January 2016
Residents of the town, which lies near the border with Lebanon, have been under siege since July, 2015. Local activists say they have faced months of food shortages ever since.
One resident told BBC News earlier this week that residents had been eating grass and leaves, but as winter takes hold, have now begun to eat earth.
At least 25 checkpoints prevent anyone from leaving the town, a local official named Samir Ali recently told The Associated Press. The last time the town received any food aid was in an air drop in October.
Ali told AP that the cost of food in the town has soared, with a kilogram of crushed wheat selling for about $250 and 900 grams of powdered milk for infants going for about $300.
ايضا هنااا مضايا حيث الجوع يفتك بالكبار والصغار طفل سبعه اشهر لم يتناول الحليب اواي شي يؤكل منذ ايام يااااارب ارفعوا ايديكم الى الله وادعوا لاهلكم في مضايا المحاصرهPosted by الهيئة الطبية في مضايا on Wednesday, 6 January 2016
Conditions are worsening because of the winter and the lack of fuel for heating. He said people have taken to removing interior doors in their homes and burning them for heat, and he recently heard of a group of people who killed a dog to eat it.
Rami Abdurrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group, told AP that, of the 23 deaths in Madaya in recent weeks, 10 could be attributed to a lack of food. The rest were from mine explosions and shootings.
On Thursday, UN's Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria announced that the Syrian government had agreed to allow humanitarian assistance into Madaya, as well as two other beleaguered villages of Foua and Kfarya in the country's north.
Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, said the humanitarian aid will bring “very, very limited relief” at this point.
“Some babies will have milk tonight, maybe for the first time in many, many days, but the fact is, this is too little, definitely too late,” Moustafa told CTV’s News Channel on Thursday. “And we don’t see an actual opening for a humanitarian corridor for this aid to come in regularly.”
Moustafa said that the “absolutely horrendous” situation is not isolated to Madaya, as populations in other Syrian cities and provinces that are under siege are subjected to starvation as a “weapon of war.”
“This has been the life for hundreds of thousands of people that have done nothing but tried to survive as civilians, and unfortunately, the international community has turned a blind eye to this,” Moustafa said.
“In this day and age, in 2016, this is something we, as a world, should be united to prevent.”