'Apocalyptic' scenes in Yarmouk refugee camp, Syria

12:00 Feb 26 2014 جامع القدس, شارع اليرموك, Yarmouk Refugee Camp, Syria

Yarmouk residents gathered to await a food distribution from UNRWA in January 2014. (Photo by UNRWA)

‘Yarmouk is devastated throughout, with street storefronts and houses suffering the brunt of the physical damage.’ (Photo by UNRWA)

Gathered on Yarmouk Street, residents begin hurrying to reach the distribution point.’ (Photo by UNRWA)


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The United Nations agency for Palestine refugees on Wednesday released shocking images of Palestinians queuing for food parcels in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp.

"It is impossible not to be touched by the apocalyptic scenes emerging from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, besieged and cut off for months," UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said.

The photo shows thousands of refugees in the besieged camp waiting in line to receive food packages delivered by UNRWA.

"The delicate, hunger-ravaged features of children waiting in line for an UNRWA food parcel; the face of a mother creased in grief for a deceased child; tears of joy as a father is reunited with a long-lost daughter; these are the vignettes of inhumanity that have become the regular fare of nightly news bulletins. They are UNRWA's daily reality," Gunness added.

A day earlier, UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi spoke of the "shocking" conditions he had seen inside the camp, which has been under siege and bombardment for months.

"It's like the appearance of ghosts," he said of the sight of hundreds of Palestinians flooding toward an aid distribution point at the camp, when he was in the Syrian capital on Monday.

"These are people that have not been out of there," he told reporters in Beirut.

Yarmouk is one of several parts of Syria where civilians are trapped under regime or opposition sieges which prevent freedom of movement and the entry of food and medicines.

At least 90 refugees have starved to death as severe food shortages have forced many camp residents to eat stray animals to survive.

More than 140,000 people have died in Syria since the the conflict erupted in March 2011.
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