UN official says "facilitation letter" needed for aid to reach besieged area near Damascus

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-30 23:15:40|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GENEVA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Humanitarian workers striving to reach the besieged area of Eastern Ghouta with aid need a "greenlight" from the authorities to access the area, special advisor to the UN special envoy for Syria on humanitarian affairs,Jan Egeland said Thursday.

In that area on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, he said that children face "acute malnutrition" which is at 11.9 percent, up from 2.1 percent in January.

Humanitarian workers are unable to assist people in dire need of medical assistance due to a blockade on Eastern Ghouta which has been under siege for more than four years, according to the UN High Commission for Human Rights.

Egeland urged nations to help hasten the evacuation of 500 people, including 220 women and 167 children, from Eastern Ghouta, as it has become a humanitarian emergency.

He said that in the seven-year Syrian conflict, due to recently heavy military activities, battles have ended in places such as Homs and Raqqa.

"They have moved to Eastern Ghouta which is the eye of the hurricane at the moment," he said,

"There is no de-escalation zone, there is only escalation in this de-escalation zone," Egeland said at a UN news briefing.

In this year along in Syria, he said 1.8 million people have been displaced and last month along 400,000 were displaced.

The UN official said, "We still need the issuance of the facilitation letter" before the aid can begin, adding that he hoped this would happen soon.