confirms severe malnutrition in Syria's besieged Madaya
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[January 15, 2016]
BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.N. children's
fund UNICEF on Friday confirmed cases of severe malnutrition among
children in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, where aid was delivered
this week to thousands of people affected by the months-long blockade.
"UNICEF ... can confirm that cases of severe malnutrition were
found among children," it said in a statement, after the United
Nations and Red Cross entered the town on Monday and Thursday to
deliver aid for the first time since October.
Dozens of deaths from starvation have been reported by monitoring
groups, local doctors, and local aid agencies from Madaya, which is
besieged by Syrian pro-government forces.
UNICEF said that out of 25 children under the age of five screened
by its staff and the World Health Organisation, 22 showed signs of
"moderate to severe" malnutrition.
Its staff also witnessed the death of a severely malnourished
16-year-old boy, it said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday said Syria's warring
parties, particularly the government, were committing "atrocious
acts" and condemned the use of starvation as a weapon of war in the
nearly five-year conflict.
The United Nations says there are some 450,000 people trapped in
around 15 siege locations across Syria, including in areas
controlled by the government, Islamic State and other insurgent
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Aid deliveries to Madaya came as part of an agreement between
warring sides that included the simultaneous delivery of aid to
thousands of people in two villages in the northwest of the country
which are encircled by rebel fighters.
(Refiles to add dropped word in paragraph 3)
(Reporting by John Davison and Tom Perry; Editing by Alison
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