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UN: Palestinians in Syrian camp are ‘traumatized’

/ 07:03 PM February 25, 2014

This undated activist photo provided by the group Palestinians of Syria shows Israa al-Masri, a baby who later died of hunger-related illness on Jan. 11, 2014, in the Palestinian neighborhood of Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria. Disturbing images of starving children and elderly are emerging from the besieged neighborhood capital Damascus, where forces loyal to President Bashar Assad are forbidding food and aid to enter the rebel-held area. Some residents are foraging for food in a blockade that reflects a broader government policy of starving out opposition areas in Syria’s bitter war. AP FILE PHOTO

DAMASCUS, Syria—The chief of the United Nations relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees says he is “deeply disturbed and shaken” by the despair and destruction he’d seen in a besieged camp in the Syrian capital.

Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner General of United Nations Relief and Works Agency is visiting the Yarmouk refugee camp that has suffered from crippling shortages of food and medicine since it got embroiled in the Syrian civil war fighting between troops loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebels trying to oust him.

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Grandi says the Palestinian refugees he spoke to in Yarmouk Monday were “traumatized by what they have lived through.” Many need food and medical treatment immediately, Grandi said in a statement released Tuesday.

More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013 of illnesses exacerbated by hunger, the U.N. says.

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