Childhood malnutrition levels in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, under regime siege since 2013, are the highest recorded in the country since its six-year war began, the UN said Wednesday (November 29th).
According to UN children's agency UNICEF, a November survey in the opposition-held area outside Damascus showed 11.9% of children under the age of five were suffering from acute malnutrition, "the highest rate ever recorded in Syria" since the conflict started, AFP reported.
Humanitarian agencies have warned several times in recent months about the situation in Eastern Ghouta, after reports of deaths among children suffering malnutrition.
UNICEF said more than one-third of children covered in the study it conducted in the region in early November were stunted, "elevating their risk of delayed development, illness and death".
"Acute malnutrition rates are highest among very young children," it added.
The spiraling violence in the area has prompted international concerns, and the UN's Syria envoy said Tuesday that Damascus had agreed to a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta.
But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported renewed regime shelling on the area on Wednesday afternoon.