The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday it had delivered its first medical supplies in a year to Palestinian refugees living in a camp in the Damascus suburb of Yarmouk in Syria.
Around 20,000 people are believed to be living in Yarmouk, once home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and Syrian nationals, where food and water supplies are now scarce. The camp is caught between Syrian government forces and opposition forces including al-Nusra.
The supplies included enough medicines to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease for 5,000 people for three months as well as items to help pregnant women deliver babies more safely and hygienically, the aid agency said.
"This is the first time in over a year that we have been able to deliver aid to the people in the camp, we hope to do more," Daphnée Maret, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, who oversaw the operation, said in a statement.
"We remain extremely concerned about the hardships being endured by the people living there, in particular the limited access to food, water and health care."
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Assistance provided when security allows for it
Syria's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Hussam Eddin Aala, said that the ICRC delivery was "the result of continued cooperation" with authorities and the Palestinian Red Crescent.
"We have been sending humanitarian assistance in cooperation with UNRWA to the camp on a daily basis whenever the security situation allows since January 30," Aala told Reuters, referring to food parcels delivered to Yarmouk by the U.N. agency taking care of Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East.
"We have been exerting continuous efforts to send assistance and evacuate those civilians who need evacuation," he added.
The ICRC, an independent agency, has stepped up deliveries across the front lines in Syria in recent weeks, reaching the Moadamiya suburb of Damascus as well as opposition-held and government-controlled areas of Aleppo.
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