“Sieges like Madaya hinder our ability to help Syrian refugees”, warns World Vision

World Vision warns sieges like Madaya remain one of the most critical issues in Syria hindering our ability to help those in need.

In response to the starvation crisis in Madaya, World Vision's Syria Crisis Response Advocacy Director Fran Charles said:

"The images from Madaya in Syria are absolutely horrendous. Tragically, it is just one of many besieged communities that we know about. According to the latest report of the Secretary-General on Syria, nearly 400,000 people across the country remain cut off and in desperate need of food, water, sanitation, hygiene and medicine. The children suffering under the sieges urgently require psychosocial support for what they are undergoing. Over the past four years, the sieges have become longer and even worse.

"Being able to access those in need and being denied access to communities by all parties to the conflict remains one of the most critical issues in Syria hindering our ability to help people. So far, due to restrictions and refusals to allow aid into these towns and villages, the humanitarian community cannot reach even five per cent of these people in besieged areas. It is extremely difficult to conduct even an independent assessment of needs in these areas, let alone respond to them with assistance.

"All parties to the conflict must, as a matter of urgency, facilitate the safe, unfettered and effective humanitarian access of impartial aid agencies to all parts of Syria, in order to respond to the humanitarian needs of all civilians affected by the conflict. The diversion of aid, attacks on aid workers and humanitarian convoys must end, with appropriate action taken where these attacks have occurred. As peace talks progress, it is vital that all parties to the conflict institute confidence-building measures, which should specifically include the immediate lifting of siege conditions and provide real assurances that civilians in Syria have freedom of movement with no further restriction on access to humanitarian assistance.

"The UN and the rest of the humanitarian community should systematically monitor and register major obstacles to humanitarian access, for example by reporting on arbitrary denials of access, including administrative hurdles and delays. We should also prioritise scaling up cross-border assistance, where possible, from neighbouring countries, including the provision of humanitarian services, such as those related to education, health and protection activities, and support efforts to build the capacity of local Syrian organisations to deliver assistance inside Syria", says Fran Charles, World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Advocacy Director.

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