The Red Cross and UN convoy was able to take aid to three besieged towns in Syria

Pawel Krzysiek / ICRC
Punaisen Ristin kansainvälinen komitea ICRC
Olav A. Saltbones / Norjan Punainen Risti
Pawel Krzysiek / ICRC

The trucks, carrying food, medical supplies, blankets, and other aid supplies arrived in the towns of Madaya, Foa’a, and Kefraya on Monday, 11 January.

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and the UN have started an operation to deliver aid supplies to the thousands of people living in the three besieged areas in Syria. The last time the organisations were able to deliver aid was in October.

– The operation has started and it will probably last a couple of days. This is a very positive development, but the aid deliveries should not be intermittent. We must get regular access to these areas in order to ease the suffering of tens of thousands of people, says head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, Marianne Gasser.

In Madaya, located close to the border with Lebanon, around 40,000 people have been starving for a long time. Approximately 20,000 people live in the towns of Foa’a and Kefraya in Northern Syria. Over 400,000 people in total live in the besieged areas in Syria.

According to Gasser, the aid organisations must be guaranteed a safe and unrestricted access to the areas in order to deliver aid to those in need. She says this is particularly important now, in the middle of winter.

The Red Cross is constantly present in Syria

The Red Cross is attempting to improve the situation in Syria in many ways. The local volunteers do significant aid work in live-threatening conditions. They assist the Syrian people every day and take care of food aid, for example.

Last year, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the ICRC provided food aid to over seven million people and organised  access to clean water for around 15 million Syrians. In addition to this, the Red Cross has delivered winter clothing for 300,000 children in Syria.

The Finnish Red Cross participates in the aid operation in Syria. Last year, 66,500 euros from the Disaster Relief Fund were allocated to Syria, and 72,000 warm blankets were sent there as material aid. The Finnish Red Cross has also managed a hospital in a refugee camp in Jordan. The hospital took care of almost 18,000 patient visits, and over 500 children were born there.

Last year, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland supported the ICRC aid operation in Syria with 2 million euros via the Finnish Red Cross. In addition to this, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs granted 800,000 euros to aid the refugees in Northern Iraq, an area which is also affected by the Syrian conflict.

Since the crisis in Syria began, the Finnish Red Cross has provided assistance in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan, with the support of donors and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The organisation also assists refugees and immigrants during their journeys in Italy, Serbia, and Greece, for example.

Read more at the ICRC website.