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Hundreds need emergency evacuation from east Aleppo: UN

Deputy envoy to Syria says medical supplies and food have all but run out as Russia and Syrian government forces continue onslaught
Medical evacuations have been denied by the Syrian government from rebel held areas(AFP)

The United Nations on Thursday warned that hundreds of people needed medical evacuation from rebel-held eastern Aleppo, and that there was only enough food left for a quarter of the city's population. 

Speaking in Geneva, the UN's deputy envoy for Syria, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, said that "medical evacuations are urgently needed" stressing that "probably hundreds" needed to be urgently evacuated from the war-ravaged city. 

"Utmost on our mind is the need to address the very concerning medical situation."

His comments came a day after two of the largest hospitals in the city's east were bombed, prompting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to describe the situation in Aleppo as "worse than a slaughterhouse". 

Ramzy warned that medical supplies were running dangerously low and only around 35 doctors remained in eastern Aleppo, where an estimated 250,000 people have been under siege by government forces since early September.

"As many as 600 wounded cannot be provided with adequate treatment," Ramzy said.

He said food stocks were running low, many bakeries had closed and only 14,000 food-aid rations remained.

With each of those rations enough to feed five people, that would be sufficient for 70,000 people, or only about a quarter of the population, according to the UN's World Food Programme.

"We hope it will be possible to create conditions for deliveries to be made. The UN continues to be ready to deliver humanitarian assistance including medical supplies as soon as possible," Ramzy said.

Speaking after a meeting of the UN-backed humanitarian taskforce for Syria, Ramzy said the discussions had been "long and difficult".

He said the UN had appealed to taskforce co-chairs Washington and Moscow to help clear the way for aid to go into Aleppo and other areas.

The United States and Russia have meanwhile been busy trading blame over the collapse of a truce they negotiated on 9 September, with Washington harshly criticising Moscow's participation in the Aleppo offensive by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The bombing must stop. Civilians must be protected. And the cessation of hostilities must be restored," Ramzy insisted.

The UN's top envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told AFP on Thursday that there was little prospect of restarting peace negotiations in light of the situation on the ground.

Dozens of civilians have been killed, residential buildings have been reduced to rubble and residents of east Aleppo are facing severe shortages.

The UN children's agency UNICEF said at least 96 children have been killed and 223 wounded since Friday in eastern Aleppo.

The UN however, have faced heavy criticism for the evacuation procedures in place for civilians needing to be evacuated to receive emergency medical care. 

Last month, more then 70 aid organisations signed a memorandum to suspend cooperation with the UN in Syria, after dozens of civilians died from not being evacuated in time from besieged parts of Syria. 

Notable signatories of the memorandum include the Syrian American Medical society and the White Helmets, which help six million Syrians. 

The aid organisations in the statement said: "We have lowered our expectations until our requests became as basic as the mere request for the evacuation of a child in a besieged area in need of life- saving medical treatment-- medical treatment he should never have been denied in the first place."