Open letter calls on UN Relief Chief to deliver aid to families sheltering in basements near Damascus  

More than 50 medics, rescue workers, activists and residents from Eastern Ghouta sent a letter to the United Nations relief chief today during his three-day mission to Syria.

The letter asks UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcock to help hundreds of thousands of people living under siege in Eastern Ghouta, where supplies of baby milk are running dangerously low and disease is on the increase. Without the fast delivery of humanitarian aid, families will continue to go hungry and remain in dire need of urgent medical care.

The letter says:

“Thousands of families in Eastern Ghouta neighbourhoods are hiding in their basements to escape the bombs that have fallen almost daily for months now. They can’t leave their underground shelters to buy food, get water or seek medical care. You can no doubt hear the bombs from where you stay and you will drive past our homes many times during your visit.

“The only thing more painful than hunger is the knowledge that UN warehouses full of lifesaving aid are a short drive from us.”

The letter says that although Security Council resolutions have sanctioned aid delivery to areas under siege, such as Eastern Ghouta, the United Nations continues to seek the Syrian government’s permission to provide aid to the area.

“In Eastern Ghouta families are organising collections and a handful of brave women are cooking lentils, delivering them under the safety of darkness, because the UN is not there,” it says.

“This time two years ago the world was shocked by images of starving children in Madaya. This time last year it was Aleppo. Now, as the head of the UN body responsible for negotiating, coordinating and deciding aid access, you have a responsibility to help us in Eastern Ghouta. This time, we are asking you to change the story.”

Read the full letter here

For more information or to organise an interview contact The Syria Campaign (London) on +44 (0)7849 205772 or at [email protected]