Flash Update – Northern rural Homs– 14 February 2016
An estimated 120,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance are trapped in northern rural Homs after supply roads were cut in mid-January.
Several cases of acute malnutrition among pregnant women and children have been reported, as well as deaths related to lack of medical care.
A deterioration of the situation and a drastic increase in the number of people in need is expected in the coming weeks unless assistance or commercial goods are allowed in.
Since October 2015, humanitarian actors were unable to deliver aid to northern Homs. They are still awaiting approval to deliver life-saving supplies.
Northern rural Homs is a predominantly agricultural area north of Homs city and south of Hama city. Two separate areas in northern rural Homs have been under Non-State Armed Groups (NSAG) control since January 2012:
Ar-Rastan and Tabliseh where an estimated 90,000 people in need live, and Al Houla, where around 30,000 people in need reside. An estimated 17,000 of the 120,000 people in need residing in northern rural Homs are IDPs. Since the end of October 2015, the area has been subject to airstrikes and ongoing shelling. In mid-January 2016, GoS and allied forces began to impose stricter controls on roads leading to the two enclaves. On 23 January, the only remaining supply route from Aqrab village in Hama into the Al Houla enclave was cut. The road had reportedly also been used to transport supplies to other areas in northern rural Homs. As a result, the flow of supplies, already insufficient to sustain the basic needs of those living inside the areas, has come to a stop. Movement between the two enclaves is still possible, albeit with some difficulties.
No UN aid delivery has been permitted into the area since October 2015 despite multiple requests. The United Nations designated the two enclaves in northern rural Homs a hard-to-reach area (HTR) in October 2012.
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