Palestinians stranded in Syria camp facing ‘starvation and dehydration’, UN warns

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Palestinian civilians stranded in Yarmouk Campt of Syria's Damascus. File photo

GENEVA (UN) – Up to 10,000 civilians in Yarmouk camp in Damascus, Syria, have gone without food and water for more than a week due to ongoing fighting, on Sunday warned the United Nations relief agency charged with the well-being of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. 

“Credible reports from inside Yarmouk indicate extensive, deliberate fire-damage to homes and other civilian buildings on a scale hardly seen before,” according to a statement by Chris Gunness, the spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 

He said that people are trapped in their homes, hunkered down to avoid being hit by bullets and shrapnel. 

“Whatever supplies of food and water they had have long been exhausted,” Mr. Gunness said. 

He added that “civilians in Yarmouk are facing starvation and dehydration alongside the heightened risks of serious injury and death from the armed conflict” which has continued unabated for 10 days. 

“The [UN] agency strongly deplores the inhumane deprivation imposed on civilians in Yarmouk, and calls on the individuals and entities involved to cease hostilities, to comply with the obligations under international humanitarian law.” 

“Humanitarian missions are on standby to deliver aid to Yarmouk and neighbouring Yalda areas, as soon as the situation allows such access,” the statement notes. 

In a press statement in February, UNRWA noted that the camp had been taken over by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group on 1 April last year, and humanitarian access remained acute.

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