UN calls for urgent humanitarian access in Aleppo, Syria
GENEVA, 9th August, 2016 (WAM) The United Nations (UN) urgently called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting in Aleppo to enable immediate access to repair the electricity and water networks, and provide humanitarian assistance to people in need.
The UN said it stands ready to assist the civilian population of Aleppo, a city now united in its suffering. At a minimum, it required a full-fledged ceasefire or weekly 48-hour humanitarian pauses to reach the millions of people in need throughout Aleppo and replenish the food and medicine stocks, which are running dangerously low, the UN said in a statement issued today by Yacoub El Hillo, UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Syria, and Kevin Kennedy, Regional Humanitarian Co-ordinator for the Syria Crisis.
Civilians, including the sick and wounded, must be reached through the most effective way both through cross-line and cross-border operations from Turkey. They must be assisted without discrimination, and wherever they are located. All parties must guarantee the security, safety and dignity of all civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.
An estimated 250,000 to 275,000 people remain trapped in east Aleppo since early July following the closure of Castello Road, the last remaining access route into this area. Since 6th August, Khanasser Road, the main access route into west Aleppo has also been cut, bringing the total number of civilians living in de facto fear of besiegement to over two million.
Over the past few weeks, communities in both east and west Aleppo have borne the brunt of the vicious conflict, with countless civilians dead or injured. The targeting of hospitals and clinics continues unabated, seriously jeopardising the health and welfare of all citizens of Aleppo.
Moreover, attacks on civilian infrastructure this week severely damaged the city's electric and water infrastructure, leaving over two million residents of Aleppo without electricity or access to the public water network. Water available through wells and tanks in Aleppo is not nearly enough to sustain the needs of the population.
The UN is extremely concerned that the consequences will be dire for millions of civilians if the electricity and water networks are not immediately repaired.
The UN reiterated its call for the immediate lifting of all sieges. When used to intentionally deprive people of food and other items essential to their survival, siege tactics constitute a war crime, the statement concluded.