FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018

Polio vaccinations begin at Syria's Yarmuk refugee camp

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said on Wednesday that polio vaccinations are being distributed in Yarmuk, a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria.

The camp had been sealed off by an army siege for months before UNRWA was allowed to supply food and medical aid to the refugees. One NGO said approximately 88 people have died of hunger and lack of medical care. AFP reports.

"We are pleased to announce that UNRWA has secured the formal authorization for the transfer of 10,000 polio vaccines to Yarmuk," UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said, according to AFP. "This process has been completed without incident and the vaccination of thousands of children in the camp is now under way."

Gunness said distributions of 5,194 food parcels began on Jan. 18, and have picked up speed in recent days.

Approval is required for people to leave the refugee camp, and approximately 1,500 people have left as a part of the recent deal allowing food and medicine to enter the camp.

Before fighting devastated the area, Yarmuk was home to 150,000 Palestinians and Syrians. Only 18,000 civilians remain in the area.

Since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, more than 130,000 people have been killed and millions have been displaced, according to AFP.