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12 Jan, 2016 09:36

‘Govt aid was sold off by traders’: RT reports from besieged Madaya (EXCLUSIVE)

As a UN humanitarian convoy reached the besieged town of Madaya, RT spoke to its residents, who said that though they had managed to escape the blockade, the rebels are still controlling most of the town’s resources and sold them food at “inflated prices.”

On Monday, the small town on the Lebanese border in southern Syria received 44 trucks which contained food, various medicines and blankets as part of an agreement between the UN and the Syrian government.

“We’re happy we managed to escape the blockade, but my parents are stuck here. We don’t have money or friends – we only hope the government helps,” a local woman told RT’s Murad Gazdiev. The RT team are the only foreign journalists who have so far managed to make it to Madaya.

One of the problems the besieged town faced was the despotism of the rebels who took over the city. They repeatedly confiscated humanitarian aid and sold it off at higher prices, local residents told Gazdiev.

“The prices rose so high… militants sold us humanitarian aid at inflated prices. A kilogram of rice cost $250,” a local resident told RT.

“Of course, the blockade was in the interest of traders, not the government. The government sent us aid, but we never got it, because it was sold off,” another resident said.

People in Madaya are in desperate need of medical help.
“I am ill… but there were no medical facilities here at all,” one woman said. “I can hardly stand on my feet.”

READ MORE: First aid convoys enter besieged Syrian town of Madaya

In the meantime, UN ambassadors asked the Syrian government to allow an airlift of 400 people from the town.

“They need medical evacuation on an urgent basis tonight and they want permission from the government of Syria to lift those people out,” the New Zealand ambassador, Gerard van Bohemen, told reporters.