A United Nations aid convoy has reached Rukban refugee camp in Syria, next to the border with Jordan, where thousands of people are stranded, a member of the camp’s local council has said.
“The first convoys have entered the camp,” said Abu Abdullah, a member of the civilian council that runs the camp and coordinates with the UN on humanitarian aid, on Saturday.
UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Ali Al-Za’tari, said in a statement the situation in the camp is critical. It is the first time since January that the displaced Syrians have received aid.
“We are delivering food, sanitation and hygiene supplies, nutrition and health assistance in addition to other core relief items in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent,” Al-Za’tari said.
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“We are also conducting an emergency vaccination campaign to protect some 10,000 children against measles, polio and other deadly diseases.”
He added that although Saturday’s arrival of help was a good first step, a long-term solution is needed for the refugees in Rukban.
“We must do everything we can to continue helping civilians living in the harshest conditions in there,” he said.
Rukban, located close to the Tanf US military base in the desert near where the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq converge, is home to more than 50,000 people.
Last month, the camp was besieged on the Syrian side of the border by its army, preventing smugglers and traders from delivering food.
A US-backed rebel group controls the area, but it abuts Jordan’s border and is encircled by the Syrian army.
According to Madeline Edwards, associate editor with the news website Syria Direct, conditions in the camp have become worse over the last month.
“Conditions have gotten worse after a major smuggling route that used to bring in basic medical supplies and food into the camp was cut off,” Edwards told Al Jazeera.
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