Iraq News

UN appeals to evacuate 500 urgent cases from Eastern Ghouta

The UN on Thursday (November 30th) appealed for 500 patients, many at risk of death, to be urgently evacuated from Syria's Eastern Ghouta region, AFP reported.

Jan Egeland, advisor to the UN's special envoy for Syria, told a press conference in Geneva that there are around 500 "urgent medical cases" in the region, east of Damascus.

"Not a single person has been evacuated in two months. If [they are not evacuated] many of them will die," he said.

Egeland said nine people previously on the UN's list of civilians in urgent need of evacuation had already died.

The UN "not being able to reach Eastern Ghouta for many months has led to an undoubtedly catastrophic situation", he said.

He added that hospitals are ready to receive the patients if the Syrian government allows the evacuation.

The UN children's agency UNICEF said on Wednesday that childhood malnutrition levels in the region are the highest recorded in the country since its six-year war began.

More than one in 10 - 11.9% - of children under five were suffering from acute malnutrition, according to the November survey.

Eastern Ghouta is one of the last remaining opposition strongholds in Syria and has been under a tight government siege since 2013 that has caused food and medical shortages.

Syria's government agreed on Tuesday to a ceasefire in the region, following days of heavy bombardment.

But while the last few days have been "calmer", Egeland warned that "two days is not enough" for humanitarians to reach some 400,000 people in desperate need of aid.

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