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Ceasefire is imperative for Syrians caught in 'a living hell', says Christian Aid Ireland. 

"Conditions for people trapped in Eastern Ghouta are amounting to a living hell," Christian Aid’s Emergency Programme Officer for the Middle East, Máiréad Collins, has said.

Christian Aid has warned that conditions near the Syrian capital are so desperate that women are giving birth in clinics underground and people, who venture out in the daytime, risk injury or death from the relentless bombing. 

"The onslaught against people, schools and hospitals in the besieged Eastern Ghouta area of rural Damascus is so overwhelming that those still alive have retreated to cellars and basements without water or electricity," said Máiréad.

"People, many displaced from elsewhere in Syria, are being forced to find shelter in basements without proper access to electricity or water. Local NGOs’ attempts to deliver humanitarian support are dangerous and severely limited.

"An immediate ceasefire is absolutely imperative for the 400,000 children, old people, women and men still caught in Eastern Ghouta."

One of Christian Aid’s local partners working in Eastern Ghouta has said: "There are 300 dead since Sunday. Several medical buildings have been targeted. People are hiding under the ground and our staff are sneaking out at night to get coverage on phones to call and update us. People are using the night-time to try and find any kind of food to feed their children, who are trapped with them underground."

A food kitchen we support in Eastern Ghouta was recently hit by an airstrike and is now out of use. They are searching for a new place to provide desperately-needed food, as food prices have tripled. 

Indiscriminate shelling of Eastern Ghouta has intensified dramatically, according to the United Nations, which has warned that 'the international crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population' are happening in Syria.

Christian Aid is supporting the United Nations’ call for an immediate ceasefire and for medical evacuations and humanitarian work to be allowed to proceed.

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Video of recent bombing in Syria, footage from Syria Relief