Aid reaches displaced Syrians near Jordan border: Red Crescent

Aid reaches displaced Syrians near Jordan border: Red Crescent
Damuscus (AFP): A convoy delivered aid to tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in desperate need of assistance near the Jordanian border on Wednesday, the first such delivery in three months, the Red Crescent and the United Nations said.

It was the largest ever humanitarian convoy to reach the makeshift Rukban camp, the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent added.

The convoy of 133 trucks carried aid including food and children’s clothes, a SARC spokeswoman said.

"Three months after a first humanitarian aid convoy entered the Rukban camp, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in collaboration with the United Nations is continuing to carry out its duty towards more than 40,000 displaced people in Rukban," SARC said in a statement.

The aid also includes healthcare items and medical supplies, it said.

"A vaccination campaign will be launched, under the supervision of a medical team, to immunise children against measles, polio, tuberculosis and hepatitis," SARC added.

The convoy contained vaccines for nearly 10,000 children under the age of five, the UN said in a statement.

Wednesday’s delivery is the first to reach the camp on the Jordanian border since a smaller convoy from Damascus on November 3.

Conditions inside the camp are dire, with many surviving on just one simple meal a day, often bread and olive oil or yoghurt, according to one resident.

Last month, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said eight children had died at the camp due to winter cold.

"This large-scale delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to the extremely vulnerable in Rukban could not have happened a moment too soon," acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Sajjad Malik said.

But he stressed the need for a long-term solution.

"While this delivery of assistance will provide much-needed support to people at Rukban, it is only a temporary measure," he said.

The camp, home to displaced people from across Syria, lies close to the Al-Tanf base used by the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

Syria’s civil war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.