41 Palestinians 'dead from hunger, medical shortages' in Yarmouk
Published Saturday 11/01/2014 (updated) 13/01/2014 16:16
Palestinian children hold bread and pots on Jan. 8, 2014, as they
take part in a protest against the poor living conditions at the
Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus
(AFP Said Khatib)
Beirut (AFP) -- A Syrian monitoring group said Friday it has documented the deaths of 41 Palestinian refugees in besieged Yarmouk camp as a result of food and medical shortages, including women and children.
"Food and medical shortages have killed at least 41 people in the past three months in Yarmouk" in southern Damascus, which has been under suffocating army siege ever since rebel groups took control of it, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Of the total, 24 have died as a result of malnutrition. The rest died either because of a lack of specialized treatment or because of a shortage of medicines, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
According to the Britain-based group, which relies on a network of activists and doctors across Syria for its reports, three of the fatalities were children and 13 of them women.
"Among them was a one-day-old child who could have survived had there been incubators," said Abdel Rahman.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has frequently warned about the dire conditions in Yarmouk.
On Thursday, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness described "extreme human suffering" in the camp, saying food shortages continued and that the absence of medical care had led to women dying in childbirth.
Yarmouk was once home to some 170,000 people but tens of thousands have fled fighting in the camp.
Syria is officially home to nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugees, around half of whom have been displaced by the conflict that broke out in March 2011, becoming refugees for a second time.
Syria's army has imposed tight sieges on several rebel towns and neighborhoods near Damascus and beyond.
The Syrian conflict, which began as peaceful protests in March 2011 but developed into a civil war, has killed more than 130,000 people and prompted millions to flee their homes.