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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Notes to correspondents

Note to correspondents on Yarmouk camp in Damascus, Syria

, 15 February 2014

On aid distributions to Yarmouk camp in Damascus, Syria, the Spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Chris Gunness, has the following to say:

“UNRWA was again unable to distribute food and other humanitarian items today in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus. We have not distributed food there over a week now which is potentially life-threatening for the besieged civilians trapped by the conflict and desperately dependent on UNRWA for food and basic medicines. We have been able to distribute six and a half thousand food parcels since 18 January. But a food parcel lasts an average family about ten days, so those provisions will now be running out. Given the context, such as malnutrition which is reportedly widespread, the fate particularly of women and children is of growing concern.

The United Nations must have secure, substantial and sustained humanitarian access to the besieged civilians of Yarmouk, whose profound and sustained suffering has come under the spotlight of world attention.  We have been encouraged by the cooperation among the parties which allowed us to resume aid to civilians in Yarmouk on 18 January and we trust that we will soon be allowed to continue our distributions, which were temporarily suspended following fighting in the camp during the night of 7/8 February.”