IOM Improves Access to Safe Water in Rural Damascus

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Syria - Five years into the Syria crisis, millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to face many challenges. Among the most dangerous in the many of overcrowded places sheltering IDPs, is access to safe water. For people living in al Kisweh, one of the largest cities in Rural Damascus, 16 km outside the city of Damascus, water scarcity profoundly affects families’ and communities’ daily life.

In February and March, IOM Syria implemented a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme that has now reached over 44,300 IDPs and conflict-affected Syrians to improve their access to clean water.

“Our aim is to decrease the risk of hygiene-related diseases through improved water supply, sanitation and sewer clearance,” says IOM Syria Operations Officer Shihab Al Kairawan.

On April 12, IOM teams facilitated the repair of clogged sewers in the densely populated area of Harjal. Most sewers in the area have not been properly maintained, putting around 120,000 people living there at risk of water-borne diseases due to overflowing sewers. IOM procured a high-end medium-sized water jet machine and vehicle that removes residues from congested and clogged sewer pipes.

In addition IOM, in coordination with local partners, installed an electrochemical disinfection system in three locations in Rural Damascus—Sidnaya, Upper Hfeir and DeirAttiyeh—where disinfection of water was urgently needed, impacting almost 40,000 people.

In coordination with local partners, IOM also distributed water tanks and chlorine tablets to around 18,870 IDPs in Rural Damascus, Hama, Homs and Aleppo.

“I finally had a bath yesterday after I received the water tank,” said 30-year-old Samar from Hasyaa village in Homs. “Before, we had to carry heavy cans of water long distances. I would sometimes go without a shower for two weeks.”

The project is funded by UNOCHA’s Emergency Response Fund (ERF) and is designed to reach some 223,000 people in four governorates.

For further information please contact IOM Syria Maria Rumman, Tel: + 963 9333 11204, Email: Or Firas Hamarneh, Tel: + 963 933311202, Email: