LIFELINE: Regime forces allowed food aid to be delivered to residents of the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus on Thursday for the first time in more than 80 days.
The aid was distributed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), under the supervision of regime forces stationed on Palestine Atreet near the camp, Hakim Said, an activist living in the camp, told Syria Direct on Thursday.
“UNRWA delivered aid cartons consisting of 5 kilos of rice, 5 kilos of lentils, 5 kilos of sugar, 3 kilos of flour, 3 kilos of milk, 3 kilos of oil, 3 cases of spam, 3 cases of sardines in addition to a case of bread (around 1.5 kilos), and half a kilo of marmalade,” Said said.
Yarmouk originally was built in southern Damascus in 1957 as a temporary refugee camp for waves of Palestinians fleeing Israel. Over the decades, it grew into a small city with an estimated 40 percent of Syrian citizens seeking out less expensive housing.
The food delivery comes two days after activists in neighborhoods of southern Damascus, also suffering from a regime-imposed blockade for nearly two years, launched the “I’m hungry” campaign in response to rising food prices in southern Damascus. Local activists attribute the higher prices to the regime’s closure of crucial entry points into the area, including the Bibla checkpoint three months ago, reported the pro-opposition the Syrian Solution website.
At least 3,000 camp residents are facing hunger, starvation and sickness as a result of the siege imposed by regime forces, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Fatah Intifada on the camp for nearly two years, according to a report published by the Palestinian Diaspora Media Center, as reported by the pro-opposition news outlet Syria Mubashar on Wednesday. The Center claimed that 172 refugees died in the last three months since the regime last began preventing aid to enter the camp.
Twenty people have died from starvation in southern Damascus since the beginning of 2015, while more than 250 have died as a result of starvation and thirst since mid-2013, reported by the pro-opposition news site All4Syria.
-March 5, 2015
-Photo courtesy of Yarmouk News agency
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