NEW YORK: Briefing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in Syria, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Director Operations John Ging underlined the enormity of challenges of the continuing humanitarian operations in the region. Ging informed the council on behalf of the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, “As we meet today, the evacuation of the eastern districts of Aleppo may have concluded but the situation in Syria remains catastrophic.” Overall, more than 35,000 people have been evacuated from the opposition-held areas of eastern districts of Aleppo, including some 20,000 since the UNSC adopted a resolution approving UN monitors for the evacuations. A total of 308 buses, 61 ambulances and 1,231 private vehicles were used in the process, which crossed numerous checkpoints from the besieged areas into western rural Aleppo and onwards to the north-western city of Idlib. In parallel, an estimated 1,300 people were evacuated from the besieged villages of Foah and Kefrayeh in the governorate of Idlib. Ging underlined that despite these developments, some 13.5 million Syrians continued to remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including nearly nine million who were food insecure. Many people, in particular children, have also been left physically and psychologically traumatised by the deprivation and bombardment they have endured.