In Aleppo: Evacuations of trapped civilians have resumed , says UN

In Aleppo: Evacuations of trapped civilians have resumed , says UN

A tractor carrying people evacuated from rebel-held neighbourhoods of Aleppo arrives in opposition-controlled Khan al-Assal on December 16, 2016

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed evacuations on Tuesday morning.

Evacuation of people trapped in war-ravaged Aleppo have resumed on Tuesday following Monday’s unanimous resolution by the UN Security Council, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has said.

Jens Laerke, spokesperson for OCHA, said UN was prepared to redeploy staff “ss soon as possible” to monitor the evacuation after Syrian Government’s decision to “unblock” the 20 staffers, who were already in the capital, Damascus.

He said the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed evacuations on Tuesday’s morning from besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo.

Laerke commended the efforts of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC officials, who have been overseeing the evacuations in Syria.

“As of 9:20 a.m. local time Tuesday, the organisations had escorted 10 buses from the Ramouseh checkpoint to Khan al-Assal in western Aleppo.

“Nearly 19,000 people have been evacuated out of east Aleppo since the evacuations began on Dec. 15 and more buses are expected to transport civilians out of the city today.”

According to the spokesperson, the operation will continue until all those who need and wish to leave have been able to do so safely and with dignity.

The UN official said OCHA had received authorisation to send 20 international and national staff to the city to play a critical role in the monitoring and the response, noting that perhaps, 100 UN staff members are already in western Aleppo and ready to deploy to the eastern districts.

“This will almost triple the number of international staff currently deployed to Aleppo,” he said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that so far, 301 patients have been medically evacuated (43 on Monday) to hospitals in Idlib, rural western Aleppo, and Turkey.

UN partners and non-governmental organisations in Gaziantep and Idlib provinces are receiving people as they arrive and providing urgent humanitarian assistance, including medical care for the sick and wounded, according to reports.

A team of 233 staff members from the International Organisation for Migration is also providing assistance with non-food items such as health, emergency, and shelter kits in Aleppo.

Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), reported that the UN had no indication of people moving across the border to Turkey and that refugee camps in the country were being run by Turkish authorities.

However, UNHCR has stockpiles in place and ready for an additional 100,000 people should the situation change, Edwards said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on Monday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to enable the UN and its partners to carry out monitoring activities on evacuations from eastern Aleppo, report on such operations, and deploy additional staff.

The Council, in the French-sponsored resolution, “demands all parties to provide these monitors with safe, immediate, and unimpeded access”.

The resolution opened the door for evacuations and humanitarian assistance, which resumed on Tuesday.

The resolution also required the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report to the Security Council within five days on the implementation of the text.

NAN also recalled that the resolution followed a dramatically more difficult situation on the ground, as well as Ban’s assessment last week that Aleppo had become “a synonym for hell”.


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