Some Aid Arrives in Eastern Ghouta, Convoys Stripped of Medical Supplies

Doctors Forced to Reuse Bandages and Needles as Critical Supply Shortage Remains

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (March 5, 2018)— A Save the Children partner in Syria has been able to deliver blankets and warm clothing to hundreds of besieged residents in Eastern Ghouta. These winter kits, which include a large double blanket, warm socks, thermal underwear and woollen hats and scarves for children and adults, came from existing stock and not from a UN aid convoy that arrived today.

Although some aid was finally allowed in, the Syrian government removed vital medical supplies from the UN convoy, including surgical kits and insulin. The World Health Organization says roughly 70 percent of medical equipment was removed in Damascus before the convoy could proceed - equipment that could save a child’s life. Save the Children partners report critical shortages of antibiotics and other medication for children. Doctors say they have to reuse bandages and needles on multiple patients as there simply aren’t enough to go round.

The situation in Eastern Ghouta remains dire, with more than 600 confirmed deaths in the past two weeks. While there’s been some pause in aerial bombardment during the morning hours following a limited Russian-backed humanitarian pause, mortars continue throughout the day as does aerial surveillance.

Save the Children is urgently calling on the UN Security Council to implement Resolution 2401, demanding a cessation of hostilities across Syria, as well as medical evacuations and humanitarian access.

"The people of Eastern Ghouta are crying for help," says Sonia Khush, Syria Response Director for Save the Children. "The UN Security Council promise of a ceasefire must become a reality for the children stuck in cold, dark underground shelters. It’s time to stop the bombing and let vital aid in. Some 400,000 innocent civilians are trapped without food, water or medicine. They must be protected.

"Hundreds of people need to be evacuated to receive life-saving medical treatment after at least two dozen health facilities were attacked or damaged in the fighting. Children are paying the heaviest price. When will the world sit up and take notice?"

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