News ID: 238224
Published: 0517 GMT January 31, 2019

Cold kills dozens of children at refugee camp in Syria: UN

Cold kills dozens of children at refugee camp in Syria: UN

The UN says nearly 30 internally displaced Syrian children have lost their lives because of freezing temperatures and lack of basic needs at a refugee camp in northeastern Syria over the past two months.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Thursday that children and newborns died in a teeming camp in Hasakeh, mainly due to hypothermia.

"At least 29 children and newborns are reported to have died over the past eight weeks, mainly from hypothermia, while travelling to the camp or shortly after arrival," the statement read.

The UN health agency also expressed extreme concern over the conditions of those who make it to al-Hol, where lies the main camp for people displaced by the fighting against the Daesh terrorist group and other foreign-sponsored outfits, Presstv reported.

The UN body appealed for unhindered access to the camp, saying the situation has become "critical" for 33,000 people, mainly women and children, now living there in bitterly cold winter conditions.

According to the WHO, about 23,000 people, mainly women and children fleeing hostilities in rural areas of the neighboring Dayr al-Zawr, have reached the camp over the past two months.

Many of them have walked for days or traveled in open trucks, arriving malnourished and exhausted following "years of deprivation" living under the control of the Daesh terrorist group, it added.

"Thousands of new arrivals have been forced to spend several nights in the camp's open-air reception and screening areas, without tents, blankets or heating," the WHO added.

WHO-supported teams are working around the clock in the camp to screen new arrivals, support vaccination and refer severely malnourished children to a hospital in the northeastern city of al-Hasakah, it said.

"Humanitarian access to the camp and surrounding roads is hampered by bureaucratic obstacles and security constraints," it added, appealing to all parties to provide unhindered access to life-saving aid.

The developments come as Kurdish and local Arab tribes are battling the last remnants of Daesh terrorists near the town of Hajin in the Euphrates River valley.

Last month, the Syrian government welcomed talks with Kurdish groups aimed at maintaining the country’s unity after they called for a Russian-mediated deal with Damascus.

Syrian Kurdish leaders have sought a Russian-mediated deal with President Bashar al-Assad's government after US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw troops from the Arab country.

The return of refugees began after Syrian army troops liberated cities, towns, and villages from militants and terrorists.

Last July, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said an estimated 750,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria returned to their homes in the first half of the year, adding that the figure equaled the number for all of last year.

According to the UN, over five million Syrian refugees also live in neighboring countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. 

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011, but the conflict is winding down.

The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

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Resource: presstv
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