A Open Call from Eastern Ghouta to the United Nations

Dear Mark Lowcock, UN Relief Chief,

Welcome to Damascus, we are writing to you from Eastern Ghouta — a short drive from your hotel but for us, trapped here, it feels like another planet.

We are medical workers, rescue workers, civil society activists and residents of Eastern Ghouta who, along with hundreds of thousands of others, are living under siege. Baby milk is in desperately short supply and disease is spreading fast. We have run out of ways to describe this horror but it is real and all we can do is ask for your help.

Credit: Badra Mohammed

Harasta, a strategic area on the road to Damascus, is being pummelled from the sky with indiscriminate explosive weapons. Thousands of families in Eastern Ghouta neighbourhoods are hiding in their basements to escape the bombs that have fallen almost daily for months now. They can’t leave their underground shelters to buy food, get water or seek medical care. You can no doubt hear the bombs from where you stay and you will drive past our homes many times during your visit.

Credit: ABDULMONAM EASSA

The only thing more painful than hunger is the knowledge that UN warehouses full of lifesaving aid are a short drive from us. Multiple Security Council resolutions have sanctioned aid delivery to areas under siege, but still you continue to seek government permission to enter Eastern Ghouta. In doing so the UN has provided the Syrian government with an effective veto over aid deliveries to areas outside of government control, enabling its use of sieges as a weapon of war. And yet you still continue to channel billions of dollars in aid to the Syrian regime.

In Eastern Ghouta families are organising collections and a handful of brave women are cooking lentils, delivering them under the safety of darkness, because the UN is not there. Aid should go to those who need it most, without regard to politics.

So when you are meeting your colleagues in Damascus, please ask them why aid is not reaching us? Are they too close to the regime or too scared of having their visas revoked? Can the UN honestly say they’ve done everything to prevent our children from dying from malnutrition-related diseases?

This time two years ago the world was shocked by images of starving children in Madaya. Last year it was Aleppo. Now, as the head of the UN body responsible for negotiating, coordinating and deciding aid access, you have a responsibility to help us in Eastern Ghouta. This time, we are asking you to change the story.

Signed,

Syria Civil Defence (The White Helmets)

Harasta Local Council

Al-Abadeh Local Council

United Relief Office

Darb Organisation

Dawlaty

Fazaa for Development and Relief

Women Now for Development

Ghouta Women’s Training and Rehabilitation Centre

Ghouta Youth Volunteering Team

Ihsan for Relief and Development

Syrian Network for Human Rights

Baytna Syria

Syrian Archive

Al Waleed Medical Team

Al Seeraj for Development and Healthcare

Al Wafaa Association for Relief and Development

Save A Soul Association for Medical Relief and Development

Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression

Nour Medical Team

Shifaa Medical Foundation

Sanad for People with Special Needs

Network of Media Workers in Eastern Ghouta

Directorate for Infrastructure and Transport in Rif Damascus

Damascus Media Centre

Rif Damascus Correspondents Network
Humanitarian Response Team

Binaa for Development

Maryam Mahmood, Activist

Bayan Rihan — Member of Douma Local Council

Alaa Al Ahmad — Media Activist

Amwi News Agency

Amer Almohibany — Photographer

Mazen Al Shamy — Activist

Firas Al Doumy — Civil Activist and Civil Defence Photographer

Abdulmonam Eassa — Photographer

Abu Alhuda Khaled — Activist and Photographer

Abu Iman — Resident

Abbas Al Asmar — Photographer

Mohammad Ghazal — Resident

Abdulrhman Bdruddin — Resident

Hadi Almonajed — Journalist

Obada Al Bakri — Resident

Mohammad Kadado — Resident

Daham Al Mazawi — Media Activist

Bassam Al Tunsi — Education Activist

Rafat Abo Ayman — Photographer

Salah Abo Zayd — Relief Activist

Abu Mohammad Al Dimashqi — Resident

Samah Rislam — Resident

Riham Hassoun — Resident

Musaab Yassin Tabajo — Resident

Laila Bakri — Resident

Rifaat Kilani — Engineer

Walaa Zaitoun — Resident

Lina Serweel — Activist

Ahmad — Syrian Arab Red Crescent Volunteer

Anas Abo Ayman — Civil Activist

Like what you read? Give The Syria Campaign a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.