Suspension of sanitation services in northern Syria camps threatens health crisis

AWP , Wednesday 1 May 2024

The decline of donations made by countries and humanitarian organizations in northwest Syria is causing a health crisis at camps for displaced people, particularly those scattered across Idlib’s countryside.

Kurdish forces
File Photo: Kurdish forces patrol al-Hol camp, which houses families of members of the Islamic State group in Hasakeh province, Syria, on April 19, 2023. AP


Garbage removal and sewage services have been suspended in around 188 camps, leading to the accumulation of garbage among the tents and the emergence of makeshift dumps that are causing the proliferation and spread of mosquitoes and flies.

Um Khaled, a displaced Syrian who fled to the camps in Idlib from rural Hama, complained that garbage had not been collected for months.

She said that the situation in the camp has become critical due to the abundance of flies and mosquitoes, which are spreading diseases, especially among children.

Ahmed Hassoun, an official responsible for a camp for displaced Syrians, says that about 300 families are suffering amidst piles of garbage that have been accumulating for over two months, and warns that the situation will worsen during the summer heat.

According to Mohammed al-Haj Ahmed, Director of the Water and Sanitation Department at the Ministry of Development, the amount of donations made by organizations supporting the displaced in northern Syria has plummeted to one-sixth of their previous levels, which has affected the provision of clean water and garbage disposal services in the camps.

He described the situation as “catastrophic,” adding that approximately 171,015 people from about 34,200 families in 188 camps are suffering from the lack of sanitation and sewage services.

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