Thursday, July 11, 2024

Water shortages worsen as funding dries up for Syria displaced


The Struggle for Water in Syria’s Displacement Camps

The scorching summer heat in Syria’s rebel-held northwest has exacerbated the already dire conditions in displacement camps, where families like Hussein Al-Naasan’s are struggling to access water. With aid funds drying up after 13 years of conflict, basic services such as water, waste disposal, and sanitation have been severely undercut, leaving more than five million people, mostly displaced, in need of assistance.

Water scarcity has become a pressing issue in these camps, with residents reporting that tap water is unavailable and aid organizations have stopped trucking water in due to budget cuts. As a result, families are forced to share water tanks and reduce costs to secure this essential resource. The lack of access to clean water not only poses a threat to their health but also increases the risk of disease outbreaks in an area with war-ravaged medical facilities.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned that without increased funding, over 100 displacement camps hosting nearly 165,000 people will be cut off from water, sanitation, and hygiene support by the end of September. This critical sector has been consistently neglected, receiving only two percent of the necessary funding in the first quarter of 2024.

In the northwestern Idlib region, where around 571,000 people are hosted in 460 displacement camps, the situation is dire. Families like Abdel Karim Ezzeddin’s are left to fetch water from nearby wells and transport them back to their tents, facing suffocating heat and mounting piles of rubbish without sanitation support. The lack of proper hygiene facilities has led to the spread of skin diseases like scabies, affecting more than 90 percent of residents in some camps.

Local officials and humanitarian organizations are scrambling to find alternatives to address the water crisis in these camps. Firas Kardush, a local official in the Idlib region, warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” if aid money runs dry, emphasizing the urgent need for increased funding to prevent further suffering among displaced families.

Asma Al-Saleh, a mother of five in one of the camps, expressed her concerns about the water scarcity affecting her ability to cook and bathe her children. Without a water storage tank or the means to purchase one, she is forced to make multiple trips to a nearby well to fetch water for her family’s basic needs.

The situation in Syria’s displacement camps is a stark reminder of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country, where millions of people continue to suffer from the devastating effects of war. As international attention wanes and aid funds dwindle, families like Hussein Al-Naasan’s are left to grapple with the daily struggle for survival in conditions that are nothing short of deplorable.

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