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More aid allowed into Damascus camp
Published Sunday 02/02/2014 (updated) 04/02/2014 14:48
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Crowds of civilians wait on Yarmouk Street for their relatives to return
to them carrying food parcels. (MaanImages/UNRWA, HO)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The UN agency for Palestine refugees on Sunday distributed 715 food parcels in a refugee camp in Damascus, adding to the thousands distributed since gaining access to Yarmouk camp in January.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness reported that large crowds and long lines of people waited for the food, which attested "to the enormous humanitarian need and the desperation of a sizeable number of civilians."

"We must accelerate the pace of distribution," he said, adding that "there is an absolute necessity for continuous, uninterrupted and substantial humanitarian access to Yarmouk for the long-term," not only for days at a time.

Aid distribution in the besieged camp in Damascus has continued for four days.


Earlier, a PLO official said that more than 2,000 food parcels entered the besieged camp on Friday.

Chief of the politburo of the PLO Anwar Abd al-Hadi said in a statement that 2,129 food parcels weighing 30 kilograms each entered the camp on Friday.

Abd al-Hadi highlighted that the food aid was sent and distributed following coordination between Syrian officials and PLO officials.

He added that 163 patients were also evacuated to hospitals and medical centers outside the camp.

After rebels seized control of Yarmouk in December 2012, the camp became embroiled in the armed fighting taking place across Syria and came under heavy regime assault.

Regime forces eventually encircled the camp and in July imposed a siege on the camp, leading to a rapid deterioration of living conditions.

Thousands have fled the camp, while the remaining residents -- who are estimated to number around 18,000 -- have faced extremely severe conditions in recent months, with reports that dozens have starved to death.

In recent weeks, however, international organizations have managed to negotiate temporary ceasefires to allow for the distribution of food and aid in the camp.
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