Just when we might have thought things couldn’t get worse in Syria, they did. After five years of drawn-out agony, now Syrians are literally starving to death in places where food could not get in for many months.

With a window of opportunity opening for humanitarian aid to get into some of these areas, IRUSA is working to get your food aid in to people who desperately need it.

The UNHCR representative in Syria reported Jan. 12 after being able to visit Madaya that the situation was “horrifying.” Sajjad Malik reported:

“There was no light. It was very, very cold. People … were very frail, very weak, malnourished and shivering. There was nothing to eat in the town. People had had no bread, rice, vegetables or fruit for months. … Children were going out collecting grass to turn into soup and eat … People were selling their belongings to buy food. … There was no heating and people were burning their belongings to keep warm.”

He said 1 kilogram (about 2 pounds) of rice cost $300, and one resident had sold a motorbike to buy 5 kilograms of rice.

An estimated 400,000 are in this kind of dire situation in numerous cities and towns across Syria.

Islamic Relief Worldwide shared a video of a woman named Aliya, who has not left her bed for three weeks. She is too weak to move, and in too much pain even to take medicine.

“We are very hungry,” she said. “I have five children. There is no food for us. Our food is mainly water with spices.”

Samar Hussein, a nurse, told the New York Times that she saw a woman picking grass to eat and did not realize at first that it was her neighbor. “She looks so different,” she said. “So skinny.”

A man named Hamoudi, 27, also spoke to the New York Times via Skype. He spoke slowly and his voice sounded exhausted. “I was dreaming of democracy, freedom,” he said. “Today all my dreams are food.”

International efforts resulted finally in a chance to get aid to Syrians in some places that have been cut off from food — a chance to help people in situations like Hamoudi’s, Samar’s, and Aliya’s.

IRUSA has spent all aid given for Syria on humanitarian aid projects that have benefited more than 3.9 million people since 2011. IRUSA’s new goal for food crisis aid is $1 million, to help 50,000 people.

These deliveries are difficult and dangerous, but our partners have delivered aid in besieged areas before, and insha’Allah, they can do it again. If they are prevented from delivering this aid, it will be used in other ways to help Syrians in dire need. But the local partners are willing to put their life on the line to deliver the aid, because not trying is not an option.

Thank you for paying attention to Syria.