Flash Update 3: Syria: Al-Hole camp and Suar transit-centre, Deir Ez-Zor, 25 February, 2019 [EN/AR]
• Over the past 72 hours as many as 9,000 people have been evacuated from the last ISIL-held areas of Baghouz in Deir-ez-Zour Governorate, including almost 6,000 civilians who have been brought to Al-Hole camp. 99 per cent of the new arrivals are women and children.
• As of 24 February, the total population of Al-Hole camp is almost 47,000, of which almost three quarters are women and children under the age of five.
• This additional influx has further stretched existing capacity within the camp, particularly in reception areas which are now extremely congested, and where there are insufficient WASH and latrine facilities available. As an interim measure, and to aid decongestion in the waiting areas, 3,000 new-arrivals to the camp yesterday afternoon were immediately directed towards an open area in the Phase 7 extension site to allow for the processing of people already at the reception area.
• At the same time, around 3,000 people have also arrived at the Suar transit-centre, halfway between Hajin and Al-Hole and await transfer to Al-Hole. Suar has a maximum capacity of 400-500 people.
• To accommodate the new arrivals at Al-Hole camp, and in anticipation of potential further influxes, humanitarian actors are urgently expanding the site with Phase 6 and 7 extensions underway.
• Despite the massive scale up of services and increase in assistance provision in Al-Hole camp, existing resources and capacity have been severely over-stretched by the new arrivals, with critical gaps remaining in the shelter, WASH and health sectors.
• As of 25 February, 75 deaths have been recorded en route from Hajin to Al-Hole camp, as well as in the camp shortly after arrival, of which 65 per cent were infants under the age of one. Given the poor health condition of the new arrivals and the cold winter weather, there are considerable concerns that mortality rates will continue to rise unless medical facilities are enhanced both in transit and at the camp. This includes the establishment of an in-patient field hospital, to tend to critical trauma and obstetric cases.
• Inadequate WASH facilities, particularly in the reception centres, where open defecation has now been reported, combined with the low vaccination coverage of the camp population overall, has further heightened the risk of disease outbreaks, exposing vulnerable groups to additional health and protection concerns.
• Given the extremely vulnerable profile of new arrivals, 25 per cent of whom are children under the age of five, the full-range of protection services must be urgently scaled-up – particularly, family identification and reunification, psychosocial support, and establishment of child-friendly spaces.
• Shelter sector partners are mobilising 105 big size tents (BSTs) to provide temporary shelter arrangements for new-arrivals until new family-sized tents are available; to date, 35 BSTs have been erected in Phase 7, with an additional 70 to be installed over the coming days. Additional tents are being mobilised by humanitarian partners through all modalities.
• NFI kit distributions are ongoing with all new-arrivals set to receive assistance within the next 24 hours.
• Ready to eat (RTE) meals have been dispatched for the 3,000 people in Phase 7; 10 water tanks and 24 emergency latrines installed; and 8 prefabricated latrine units transferred from a nearby camp as an emergency solution.
• 24/7 medical and triage teams are now functioning in the reception area while 3 mobile clinics have been deployed to the Phase 7 section of the camp – two of which are providing reproductive health services. Nutrition services are also being provided in parallel.
• 24/7 protection teams are also present at screening and reception areas for early identification of persons with special needs and fast-tracking of related screening procedures, emergency assistance and access to specialised services.
• At Suar transit site, 2,400 IDPs have received hygiene kits, jerry cans, sanitary napkins and baby diapers.
• While a staggered approach to the transfer of people both to and within the camp has freed up some space in the reception areas for the new-arrivals to be received, improved flow management procedures may be required in the event further influxes occur.
• Additional financial resources are desperately needed to meet the needs of all new-arrivals to Al Hole as well as to ensure a sustained response inside the camp to the entire population.
The next situation update will be issued once new information becomes available or is warranted by the situation on the ground.