Daily Life in Besieged East Ghouta

Abu Hussein, 69, lives in besieged East Ghouta with his wife, 45.

Photo: Abdulmonam Eassa/Syrian American Medical Society

East Ghouta, an area east of Syria’s capital city of Damascus, has been under a stifling siege since 2013. A severe shortage of goods — from basic necessities to medical supplies, has made life unbearable for its 350,000 residents. Abu Hussein and his wife struggle to survive with the daily perils of food shortages, skyrocketing food prices and frequent aerial attacks.

Food prices in East Ghouta are 4 to 5 times higher than in the nearby Syrian capital.

Vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and children, are often most at risk in conflict and post-conflict settings. They are particularly susceptible to preventable disease and malnutrition. In a crisis, older people can also become isolated. Without children of their own, Abu Hussein and his wife must rely only on each other for support.

Markets, schools, and residential neighborhoods of East Ghouta have been targeted by aerial attacks. For Abu Hussein and his wife, the daily search for sustenance means that they also run the risk of an aerial attack.

Food prices in East Ghouta are 4 to 5 times higher than in the nearby Syrian capital. By the end of 2013, SAMS-supported doctors in East Ghouta saw a spike in malnutrition. East Ghouta residents were forced to resort to eating vegetables and plants, mainly cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce. Reports from field staff suggest that most residents of the area lost between 5–50 kg (11–110 lbs) in 2014.

Photo: Abdulmonam Eassa/Syrian American Medical Society

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) recently launched its Save East Ghouta campaign to raise awareness of the situation in the besieged area, where over 350,000 people are trapped. SAMS continues to call for an end to the siege in East Ghouta and all besieged communities across Syria.

We need your help to advocate for the residents of East Ghouta. Find out how you can support the #SaveEastGhouta campaign on our website.

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