Residents of Madaya, about 25km northwest of Damascus, are suffering from severe malnutrition and have little access to fuel and medical supplies because of the siege by government regime forces since July.
Abu Abdul Rahman has not eaten in four days.
Hungry and weakened, Rahman and his family have been trying to limit their movements inside their house in the Syrian town of Madaya, fearing that any activity would drain the little energy left in their bodies.
“There are no more cats or dogs alive in the town. Even tree leaves that we have been eating have become scarce,” he tells Al Jazeera’s Ali Saad over the phone.
As days pass by, Rahman said that he had little hope that he and his family can stay alive.
“Describing the situation as tragic is merely airbrushing reality on the ground,” he said in a subdued voice.
The Red Cross said people in the town are burning plastic to keep themselves warm.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 23 people, including children, had died in rebel-held Madaya because of the siege and mines laid around the town by Assad’s forces.
The UK-based monitoring group also said that at least 300 children in Madaya are suffering from malnutrition, and local activists said an estimated 40,000 people have little access to food and medicines.
Medical professionals in Madaya said that people “were eating grass to stay alive.”
“We cannot provide milk for infants,” Dr Khaled Mohammed told DPA on Wednesday. “Today, a 10-year-old child died of malnutrition.”
Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, told Al Jazeera that hundreds of thousands of people were in similar situations across Syria.
“We believe there are 400,000 people in 15 towns and cities who are in a situation where they are besieged by different parties to the conflict,” Fleming said.
“Besieged translates into civilians completely cut off from any humanitarian aid: no food, no medicine, shelters without heat and water. These are situations under which people cannot survive any more.”
The United Nations said in a statement on Thursday that it was preparing to deliver humanitarian assistance in the coming days to the besieged town of Madaya. Two Shia towns that have been cut off by rebels in the province of Idlib will also receive UN aid.
- Pray for Syria, for peace to return to this embattled country.
- Pray for the innocent people caught up in the ongoing conflict, for aid supplies of food and medicine to reach those who desperately need it.
- Pray for relief for the besieged cities and towns across Syria, and for people to have hope again for themselves and their families.
- Pray that God will intervene in this nation, and that many will come to know the love, healing and grace of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 146 vs 7: “The Lord … who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.“