After multiple attempts in recent weeks to gain humanitarian access to Eastern Ghouta, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) finally reached the town of Douma yesterday (5 March) as part of a joint aid convoy with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations.
The 46-truck convoy was carrying 5,500 food parcels for over 27,500 people (one food parcel should last a family of five a month), along with vital medical and surgical items such as dressing materials.
While the convoy will lessen the immediate suffering of some civilians in the Eastern Ghouta region, it is not enough. People are facing dire conditions and shortages and repeated and continuous humanitarian access is essential and more must be granted.
An elderly woman says: “I am fragile because we only eat barley. There is no food. The shelling destroyed our house. Please help me.”
Another woman asks: “The children have not see the sunlight for 15 to 20 days. Can no-one help us? Why is no one helping us? Can’t anyone come to us? Why can’t someone stop this situation? Until when will the world stay silent?”
A disabled boy states: “We live in great fear here. We only eat barley and I really do not like it. Every time I eat it I feel nauseous and we need help from you.”
The last time the ICRC was able to deliver aid in Eastern Ghouta was on 12 November last year.
During the past weeks of intense fighting, many people in Eastern Ghouta have lost their lives because of the fighting or because they had no access to medical care. Seeking shelter from continuous bombardments, families have spent days hiding in underground shelters with very little food to sustain them.
Hospitals, houses and facilities belonging to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been hit and continue to be targeted. This is unacceptable.
Damascus city has also not been spared. Many neighbourhoods have come under mortar attack in the past weeks, with civilians killed and wounded.
The ICRC has repeatedly called for all sides in Syria to respect the laws of war, which are being ignored. Today, we again urge parties involved in the conflict to take every precaution to spare and protect civilians.
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For further information, please contact:
Ingy Sedky, ICRC Damascus, +963 930 336 718
Pawel Krzysiek, ICRC Damascus, tel: +963 993 700 847
Iolanda Jaquemet, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 447 37 26
Ralph El Hage, ICRC Amman +962 7 7845 4382
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Location: Eastern Ghouta, Syria
Format: HD H264 mov
ICRC ref: AV830N_Syria_EasternGhoutaAid
Copyright: ICRC access all
0:00 ICRC + SARC + UN convoy on route to the town of Douma
111 SOUNDBITE (in Arabic) woman:
0:40 0:44 “The children have not seen the sunlight for 15 to 20 days. Can no-one help us?
0:44 to 0:49 Why is no one helping us? Can’t anyone come to us? Why can’t someone stop this situation?
0:49 Until when will the world stay silent?
0:59 We need crossings to let the besieged people go out. People here are fed up. We want the shelling to stop.”
1:03 A kid deprived of his father, and there is no medicines, no food, no water, there is nothing here, life is depressing here.. What can we do?
1:13 Cannot any one help us? Cannot any committee enter and take the people here out?
1:19 We do not want any of the sides, we just want to leave from here and see how is life outside. Why people outside are living good and we are not. Why we are destitute living here? Are we born to live under shelling and in basements?”
SOUNDBITE (in Arabic) elderly disabled woman:
1:41 “Hello, I am disabled and cannot move, I am fragile because we only eat barley.
1:51 I need your help because I really cannot do anything I am fragile.
1:58 The shelling destroyed our house, and we are eating barley. I am fragile, there is no food here.
2:05 I ask you to help me I am disabled and my legs are swollen.
2:15 Our children…no food, no water there is nothing, please help me….”
SOUNDBITE (in Arabic) a disabled boy:
2:24 “Hello. We live in great fear here. We only eat barley and I really do not like it. Every time I eat it I can’t swallow it and we need help from you.
2:34 Aid convoy leaving