UN to meet on humanitarian crisis in Syrian town of Madaya

The U.N. Security Council is meeting Monday afternoon on the humanitarian crisis in a Syrian town where activist groups have reported several deaths from starvation in recent weeks.

New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, who requested the meeting along with Spain, said a U.N.-supported aid convoy has reached Madaya, but said it was "just the start."

In a statement to The Associated Press he called the "siege and starvation tactics" in the town that has been blockaded for months by government troops and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, "one of the most appalling characteristics of the Syrian conflict."

The United Nations says 4.5 million Syrians are living in besieged or hard-to-reach areas and desperately need humanitarian aid.

"We need unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to all those in need in Syria," he said.