Syria, Press Statement: Starvation – the Catastrophe Reaches Eastern Gouta in Damascus Suburbs.

In continuation of the policy of besieging the rebellious areas as a systematic collective punishment, the regime forces closed, on 13-10-2013, all entrances to Eastern Gouta in Damascus Suburbs a day before “Eid Al-Adha” when the area has already been under a heavy almost complete siege for over a year, and experiencing very deteriorated human conditions especially in regard of the medical and relief matters as well as fuel and everyday essential needs. With the complete closure of the area, hundreds of thousands of civilians, especially children, are facing death out of extreme hunger in a bitter experience that is very similar to that people in Mo’adamieh in Damascus Suburbs and other southern areas in Damascus are going through, at the top of which are Yarmouk Camp and Hajar Aswad which has been besieged for several months.
During the past few days, the prices of the already rare supplying materials have dramatically increased; some of which have four-folded, and other basic materials have run out such as flour, fuel and electricity that has been cut off for over a year. For example, one liter of petrol- if found- costs 2000 SP, noting that all hospitals and medical points depend mainly on fuel due to the absence of electricity, a gas cylinder also costs 15000 SP. The prices of food materials have also increased as one kilo of rice costs 400 SP while other food supplies are completely unavailable.
Furthermore, the Eastern Gouta is being targeted by the regime’s army fires every day that hardly a day goes by in its towns and cities without the reporting of a number of civilian martyrs and injured due to the regime forces savage military operations and random shelling with all kinds of heavy weapons, at the top of which are warplanes, surface-to-surface missiles, rocket launchers, artilleries and others. Added to that is polio that- in the past few days- has hit the children of the area as the locals of the Eastern Gouta have been deprived from the necessary vaccines, especially polio, measles, parotid gland and rubella ones.
A doctor in the Unified Medical Office in Eastern Gouta has mentioned that there are fears of the spread of polio cases if the siege lasts for a longer time and the access of vaccines are not allowed, however, the greatest fear –according to the doctor- is the absence of the other necessary vaccines especially those of hepatitis in children.
Violation Documentation Center in Syria appeals to all international humanitarian bodies and organizations, led by the Security Council, as well as the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon and the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to start immediate practical proceedings to prevent another human catastrophe in Eastern Gouta similar to those of Mo’adamieh in Damascus Suburbs and the southern region of Damascus, and to force- by all means possible- the Syrian regime to lift the siege on all besieged areas and to open safe humanitarian corridors to save the lives of thousands of civilians in Damascus Suburbs.VDC invites the ICRC again to shoulder its responsibility in saving the lives of Eastern Gouta’s civilians.
Violation Documentation Center in Syria – VDC
November 2013
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