Syrian war

Syria: Aid convoy enters eastern Ghouta, but government authorities confiscate UN medical supplies

At least 520 people have been killed in the enclave over the past two weeks and 4,00,000 remain trapped.

An aid convoy entered Syria’s besieged eastern Ghouta region for the first time in several weeks on Monday, The Guardian reported. Syrian Army attacks on rebel groups have left at least 520 dead in the Ghouta enclave over the past two weeks, and 2,500 injured. As many as 4,00,000 civilians are feared trapped.

A convoy of 46 trucks sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations began to cross a Syrian Army checkpoint at al-Wafideen on Monday morning. However, an unidentified World Health Organization official said that Syrian government authorities had confiscated surgical kits, insulin, dialysis equipment and other medical supplies from United Nations vehicles entering the enclave.

Some doctors working in eastern Ghouta told The Guardian that 712 people had been killed and more than 5,600 injured since February 19. “People are scared of massacres [by the Syrian Army] and so they are fleeing inwards [deeper into eastern Ghouta],” a doctor said.

On Sunday, there was heavy fighting in the Beit Sawa area, on the eastern edge of the enclave. Civilians fled as clashes intensified between government forces and the Jaysh al-Islam, one of the three main rebel groups.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a daily five-hour ceasefire in the region, but the fighting has continued. France and the United States had on Thursday urged Russia to exert pressure on Syria to implement a resolution that the United Nations passed in January for a 30-day ceasefire.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at a press conference on Sunday vowed to continue what he described as a fight against terrorism. He also said that reports about the dire humanitarian situation in eastern Ghouta were “ridiculous lies”, BBC reported. But he added that he supported Russia’s ceasefire announcement as it would allow “the majority of those in eastern Ghouta” to escape the areas under the control of “terrorists”.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

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Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.