The United Nations on Thursday said that the Syrian government has agreed to allow aid convoys into the besieged towns of Madaya, Foah and Kefraya. The UN said it has received credible reports of people dying in Madaya of starvation. The town north west of Syrian capital Damascus has been cut off from supplies since July. Though the number of people who have died is not clear, some activists put the number at around 41.

Graphic images of starving adults and children have come out of the town, with people saying that locals have to eat grass as nothing else is available. The little food that does come in is exorbitantly priced. A litre of milk could cost around $300. Some families resort to feeding their children stray animals sometimes as a break from salt and water. Dibeh Fakhr, spokeswoman for International Committee of the Red Cross, told CNN that the situation is “extremely critical” in Madaya.

The UN added that the rebel-held town is prone to land mines and surrounded by snow-topped mountains, more reasons why it has been cut off from aid. The UN estimates around 4,00,000 people in Syria are living under siege as the Islamic State, the Syrian rebels and forces supporting President Bashar al-Assad continue fighting.