Children, babies dying from cold at camp in north-east Syria: WHO

A Syrian boy carries blankets over his head inside a camp in al-Hol in northeastern Syria, on Dec 8, 2018.
A Syrian boy carries blankets over his head inside a camp in al-Hol in northeastern Syria, on Dec 8, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (REUTERS) - At least 29 children and newborns are reported to have died in a teeming camp in north-eastern Syria over the past eight weeks, mainly due to hypothermia, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday (Jan 31).

The UN agency appealed for unhindered access to al-Hol camp, saying the situation has become "critical" for 33,000 people living in bitterly cold winter conditions without tents, blankets or heating.

Many have walked for days after fleeing fighting in Deir Ezzor, it said.

"Many new arrivals are malnourished and exhausted following years of deprivation living under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant... Humanitarian access to the camp and surrounding roads is hampered by bureaucratic obstacles and security constraints," the WHO said in a statement, using another name for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group.