A United Nations (UN) report on Sunday said five people starved to death in Madaya, Syria, in the last week and dozens more are at risk of starvation, even after two trucks of aid materials were sent to the town under siege.
"Since 11 January, despite the assistance provided, five people reportedly died of severe and acute malnutrition in Madaya," said the report.
The siege, which has lasted more than six months, with its restrictions on movement, which the Assad government and Hezbollah fighters have achieved by installing landmines to stop almost 42,000 people from escaping or from looking for food, has led to starvation deaths of at least 32 people in the last month alone.
The report also said dozens of people outside the town of Madaya need immediate care, but the UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent have managed to evacuate only 10.
Despite attempts since 2015, aid trucks were not permitted into Madaya before 11 January. The second run took place on 14 January.
"We have approached the Syrian government, but we still do not have a proper dialogue on [evacuations]," World Health Organisation's Syria representative Elisabeth Hoff told NBC, adding that time was running out for those who were ill. "We cannot wait for these negotiations to take place; we need to start to treat these people immediately."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Assad government on 14 January for using starvation as a weapon of war. He said the Syrian government was committing "atrocious acts" against humanity.
The prolonged starvation in the region has led to the escalation of prices of a single biscuit to $15 and baby milk to $303, while residents have also taken to eating grass and pets.
Syria, which is going through an acute humanitarian crisis, is said to have 450,000 people living in dire conditions after towns and cities have been under siege of the Assad government, Isis, Hezbollah fighters and rebels, reported Reuters.