Residents of besieged rebel-held eastern Aleppo have fewer than 10 days to receive aid or face starvation and death from a lack of medical supplies.
That’s according to the head of the Syria Civil Defence, known as “White Helmets”.
The volunteer group, which works in opposition-held territory and has rescued thousands of people from buildings bombed in the civil war, is also running out of basic equipment from trucks to diesel and gas masks, Reuters reports.
“You cannot imagine how the situation is,” Raed Al Saleh told Reuters. Saleh was in Stockholm to receive the Right Livelihood Award, Sweden’s “alternative Nobel prize.”
“Doctors and the rescue workers in Aleppo are just using what’s left of the equipment after bombardments to do whatever they can do,” Saleh said.
Rebels in the eastern part of Aleppo city have agreed to a UN plan for aid delivery and medical evacuations but the United Nations is awaiting the green light from Russia and the Syrian government, humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Thursday.
With freezing winter conditions setting in, about 275,000 people are trapped in eastern Aleppo, where the last UN food rations were distributed on Nov. 13.
Saleh said doctors were so short of supplies they were resorting to making life and death decisions over who receives surgery. “They cannot accept everyone … There are not enough materials and not enough doctors,” he said.
Saleh said the White Helmets had lost 50 percent of their equipment in the last two months.
“We have consumed all the stock of first aid kits in our centers and we have consumed all our stock of gas masks. We are concerned that within ten days we may consume all our remaining stock of diesel which is required for the ambulances and the trucks to move,” he said.
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