The following image was taken in January 2014 by the UN Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA. It shows a “queue” of Palestinian refugees–really more a mass of bodies–in Yarmouk, a district of Damascus, Syria, that has become a de facto refugee camp:
Yamouk is different than most refugee camps, because it was never a camp at all. Despite the crumbling facade, the district has always been residential, with beauty salons and internet cafes. The UNRWA operates 20 elementary schools, and Palestinians have been functioning with four hospitals and jobs such as doctors, engineers and street vendors.
The Syrian civil war has changed that. Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, sealed off Yarmouk in July 2013. The area witnessed intense fighting between the rebels and the Syrian army, with Palestinians on both sides of the conflict. Since then, the UNRWA has given out more than 7,000 food parcels to the camp of 160,000 people in little under a month. There are frequent reports of infant malnutrition, war trauma, and injuries. After Assad ceased all international aid to the camp in early February, he reneged and permitted a smaller number of international aid workers to prevent starvation.
This photo shows what people living there now have to deal with.
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