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Health, water and the increasing threat of disease

By Penny Sims and Vivian Tou’meh, Damascus

Sulaf, 15, and her 7-year-old sister Hiba are waiting their turn at the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s children clinic in Dwailaa areas, Rural Damascus.

The two girls are diabetic, and waiting to get their insulin. Sulaf has been having problems with her eyesight too and her family are concerned.

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UNRWA Sets up Its First Health Point in Yarmouk And Prevents Outbreak of Typhoid

“We first heard rumours about typhoid from our partners in the Palestine Red Crescent Society, during our missions to distribute food in Yarmouk”, a senior UNRWA health staff member in Syria explains. In areas with adequate public sanitation typhoid, a common but often fatal bacterial disease can easily be prevented, but given the acute shortages of clean water in Yarmouk, our staff knew they had to move quickly to stop an outbreak amongst the 18,000 civilians trapped in the area.

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Middle East Polio Technical Bulletin, as of 18 August 2014

As of 18 August 2014 :


No new WPV1 cases were reported in the past week. The most recent WPV1 case had onset of paralysis on 21 January 2014, from Salamiyah district, Hama governorate. The total number of laboratory confirmed WPV1 cases for 2014 is ONE, and 35 for 2013. The annualized non-polio AFP rate is 3.0 per 100,000 and the proportion of AFP cases with adequate specimens is 90%.


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Syrian Civilians Living in Besieged Homs Area Receive IOM Aid

Syria - IOM, in partnership with the Al-Oun Association, a local NGO, and the office of the Homs Governor, this week delivered essential non-food relief items to some 7,500 vulnerable people in Al-Waer, a besieged area on the outskirts of Homs city.

The area has not received humanitarian aid since October 2013 and the aid, which represented another breakthrough in delivering relief to hard-to-reach and cross-line areas, included 1,500 hygiene kits and 1,000 baby and adult diapers.

International Organization for Migration:

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Updated Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic, August 2014

“With additional killings reported from earlier periods, in addition to the new killings that have taken place, the total is more than double the number documented a year ago," Navi Pillay said.

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Voices in crisis: A monthly insight into the human rights crisis in Syria: August 2014


Arabic name of Ayn al-Arab) in Aleppo province has been besieged by the Islamic State armed group (formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)) since July 2013 following clashes with the Kurdish People's Defense Units (YPG), the armed group linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), who took control of Kobani and the surrounding area in July 2012 in the context of the armed conflict taking place in Syria. Militants from IS currently surround the city and its inhabitants. There are estimated to be up to 200,000 people trapped inside Kobani.

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Syria war toll over 180,000: NGO

08/21/2014 13:21 GMT

BEIRUT, August 21, 2014 (AFP) - More than 180,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict broke out in March 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a new toll published Thursday.

The Britain-based monitoring group, which relies on a network of sources on the ground, said it had documented the deaths of 180,215 people.

Among them were 58,805 civilians, including 9,428 children and 6,036 women.

Agence France-Presse:

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IOM Regional Response to the Syria Humanitarian Crisis, 5 - 18 August 2014


  • Syria: On 13 August, IOM completed shelter repair and rehabilitation works in four collective shelters in Sa’sa’, a cross line area in Rural Damascus.

  • Iraq: IOM began vocational training for 20 Syrian refugees living in Qushtabah camp in Erbil.

  • Jordan: From 5 to 18 August, 1,912 Syrian refugees were transported from the Rabaa’ al Sarhan Screening Centre to Azraq and Za’atri camps.

International Organization for Migration:

Copyright © IOM. All rights reserved.

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Syria crisis: Needs Overview: Food, Health, Water - Al Hasakeh City | Hasakeh Governorate, 21 August 2014



The methodology applied for this assessment was done in a phased approach, which included primary data collection – between 22 and 30 July 2014 – and analysis, as well as secondary data review.

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WHO Response to the Syrian Crisis - Regional SitRep, July 2014


United Nations security council resolution 2165 Allows WHO and UN agencies to deliver Humanitarian Assistance to previously unreached in Syria through Cross border activities.

Heightened risk of epidemic-prone diarrhea diseases during the summer months across the subregion.

WHO and UNICEF in Syria urge all parties to the Syrian conflict not to deny vulnerable populations access to safe drinking water.

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Syria Crisis: IOM Regional Response - Transport Assistance for Refugees and Stranded Migrants (from January 2013 to 18 August 2014)

Lebanon - Emergency evacuation and repatriation of 1,401 extremely vulnerable migrant workers since January 2013 from Syria

IOM assists stranded migrants to leave Syria and to transit through Lebanon in order to fly home from Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut. A land-bridge was set up between Damascus and Beirut in February 2013 after frequent insecurity prevented convoys to reach Damascus international airport.

International Organization for Migration:

Copyright © IOM. All rights reserved.

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Kuwaiti aid to WHO improves health for Syrians affected by conflict

21 August 2014, Geneva -- A US$45 million donation to the World Health Organization from Kuwait has saved the lives and addressed the health needs of millions of people affected by the conflict in Syria, a new WHO report says.

The much needed funds have been used to provide essential health care in both government- and opposition-controlled areas within Syria, as well as in neighbouring countries struggling to cope with 2.9 million Syrians who have taken refuge in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, Turkey.

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Syria: One Year On, No Justice for Chemical Attacks Victims

Hundreds Died in Deadliest Such Event in 25 Years

(New York, August 21, 2014) – Justice remains elusive for the victims of the chemical weapons attacks on Ghouta, near Damascus, which killed hundreds of people, Human Rights Watch said today, on the anniversary of the August 21, 2013 attacks.

Human Rights Watch:

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Hailing destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapons arsenal, Secretary-General urges government to fully eliminate remaining arms production facilities


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General welcomes the destruction of the declared chemical weapons material on board the United States Maritime Vessel Cape Ray. This marks a significant achievement in the international community’s efforts to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic following the framework agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America.