IOM Strongly Supports UN Calls for Relocation of Medical Cases from Madaya, Syria

Humanitarian Emergencies, Internally Displaced Persons, Migration Health

Syria - IOM has voiced its strong support for the United Nations’ call to relocate 400 Syrians from the besieged Damascus suburb of Madaya. After visiting a hospital in Madaya, UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief Stephen O’Brien said that 400 patients needed immediate medical relocation to treat malnourishment, starvation and other medical conditions.

A report from Médecins Sans Frontières says that 23 people have died of starvation in Madaya since the beginning of December 2015. The town has been under siege by armed groups since July 2015.

Working with Syrian authorities and UN agencies, IOM is ready to assist in the transportation of these 400 patients to safety, where they can receive urgently needed lifesaving medical treatment.

IOM is part of an inter-agency effort to deliver aid to Madaya and Zabadani, as well as the towns of Kafraya and Foua, both under siege by armed groups since March 2015. Syrian Arab Red Crescent trucks will deliver 1,200 IOM family hygiene kits, which contain items such as  buckets, garbage bags, soap and personal hygiene items to those affected in Madaya, Kafraya and Foua. The hygiene kits were loaded on to Syrian Arab Red Crescent trucks yesterday (12/01) and will reach these locations today (13/01) security conditions and access allowing.

In October 2015, IOM worked in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN to assist Syrians by providing 30 wheelchairs to those in need in Madaya, as well as 1,500 hygiene kits and 1,250 tarpaulins in Kafraya and Foua. IOM Syria has also delivered medical supplies and equipment to support the Az-Zabdani public primary health care centre in Rural Damascus governorate, near Madaya, which provides primary healthcare services, including maternal and child care, to conflict-affected families. The items and kits included standard surgical kits, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and an oxygen concentrator, together with other essential primary health care items.

Over 400,000 people are estimated to be in hard to reach and besieged areas inside Syria, living in dire conditions and lacking access to basic services including food, health, water and sanitation. IOM and its humanitarian partners continue to prioritize delivering aid to those afflicted in these areas, and call on the international community for continued support.

IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing said, “IOM strongly supports the UN and international community’s calls for the immediate relocation of civilians from Madaya and other besieged towns and villages in Syria. We will continue to support affected civilians and remain committed, together with our humanitarian partners, in delivering much needed aid to those caught in this conflict.”

Since the outbreak of violence in 2011, IOM Syria has assisted more than 3.7 million people affected by war, 45 per cent of them in hard-to-reach and besieged areas throughout Syria. IOM plans to scale up its operations in 2016 to meet the growing needs of war-affected and displaced Syrian communities by providing non-food relief items, shelter, hygiene, healthcare, livelihoods support, protection and education support.

For further information, please contact IOM Syria. Maria Rumman, Tel: +963.9333.11204 or +962.7999.46195 (Amman), Email: Or Firas Hamarneh, Tel: +963.9333.11202, Email:

An internally displaced Syrian family driven from their home by the war shelters under IOM plastic sheeting. © IOM