The grim fact is that all 40,000 are hanging on by a slender thread and are malnourished and sick. There are even reports that they are eating insects and leaves and plants of unknown nature…. reports Asian Lite News

syriaThis is 2016. You do not expect anyone in the human race to sell a car for five kilos of rice. And yet, in the township of Madaya in Syria over 25 people have died of cold and hunger as their area is cordoned off by pro Assad troops. Not just that, but they are now taking grass and boiling it for sustenance because there is nothing left. They have sold whatever they could to get a morsel of food and even that is now pointless. They are literally burning their houses and furniture to stay warm. There is no electricity, no communication, nothing.

And the rest of us seem to know very little about this state of affairs, a sorry indictment of our indifference. Over 40,000 men, women and children are directly affected the herculean effort and risk involved in getting medical supplies and basic foods to the beleaguered is making it an uphill task. UN observers reeled with shock when the witnesses how bad the situation was.

The request made by the UN agencies and in particular UN Aid chief Stephen O’Brien to allow the 40,000 to seek help and exit the cordon has still not been granted.

The grim fact is that all 40,000 are hanging on by a slender thread and are malnourished and sick. There are even reports that they are eating insects and leaves and plants of unknown nature.

Even this first load of UN sponsored relief barely touches the surface of the crisis and does not address either the long term issues or indicate what next?

Unless relief is in much greater measure and ongoing and the siege lifted these people have been given a death warrant and Madaya stands as a symbol of shame for the rest of the world.

How did things come to such a desperate pass? Food and supplies petered out in October after the blockade was placed on the rebel controlled area in July by pro Assad forces. Madaya was isolated and the people were now into the seventh day of total starvation like there is not even the grass left when the first limited relief convoy sent by the UN rolled in.

Is it a question of too little too late? Some of the damage done to the inhabitants is irreversible and many of them will not have the strength to survive the winter.