The Czech humanitarian organization People in Need is actively involved in international efforts to get humanitarian aid to the more than 20,000 civilians evacuated from eastern Aleppo in the past week and those still trapped in the besieged city. Over the weekend, People in Need, lost another of its regional coordinators, killed in the bombing of Atareb, not far from Aleppo. I spoke to People in Need’s Tomáš Kocián, chief coordinator for aid to Syria, about the present situation.
“This is a war. It’s the fifth member of our local staff who has been killed - as hundreds of thousands of other Syrians are being killed…so I do not want to sound cynical, but this is a war, it is an absolute nightmare, but there are people living in this war, in these conditions.”
What do they need most at this point?
“Peace, I would say peace, which is far from happening. From the perspective of humanitarian aid it is the usual stuff –food, water, shelter, depending on where they are –in the places that are besieged or being targeted generally everything is needed.”
Has the situation worsened? Has it become more dangerous to distribute aid?
“In Aleppo province not so much, basically now as Aleppo city is almost completely under the control of the Assad regime the city is quiet and safer even for those who decided to stay, western Aleppo which is still under the control of the opposition is being targeted and we are expecting that this is going to increase.”
And are you still able to get help to western Aleppo?
“Yes, we provide aid both to people in western Aleppo and Idlib. We have also been providing food and other humanitarian items to refugees from Aleppo, those who have been evacuated. We have assisted more than 200 families and another 100 families will be assisted in the coming days. Furthermore we are running our regular programs targeting more than 200,000 people.”
And your immediate plans for next year? Will the aid deliveries continue?
“Hopefully, yes, it depends very much on the security and political situation on the ground. If we can maintain access to the areas where we operate we will continue working.”
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
Ron Perlman: Cinema is a much bigger art-form than superhero movies represent
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague