OCHA Flash Update No. 1: Syria Crisis – Aleppo, 10–11 August 2016

Situation Report
Originally published


1. Humanitarian Situation

  • Fighting persisted in eastern Aleppo City on Thursday, including airstrikes and barrel bombs on at least four neighbourhoods while mortars fell on western Aleppo City.
  • Access to Aleppo City is very limited as control of the two key routes into the city recent changed hands and remain insecure.
  • On Wednesday, the Government of Russia announced a daily three-hour ceasefire from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. to facilitate the delivery of aid supplies to the city.
  • The UN continues to call for a weekly 48-hour humanitarian pause to reach those in need.
  • The humanitarian situation for an estimated 250,000 – 275,000 people in eastern Aleppo City remains grave because of very limited humanitarian access and on-going violence. The entire city is now facing a humanitarian crisis due to access restrictions and escalating violence.
  • Over two million residents in Aleppo City remain without electricity or access to public water.
  • On 10 August, chlorine gas was reportedly dropped alongside barrel bombs in Aleppo City, killing four people and causing breathing difficulties amongst 55 people.
  • Food and medicine stocks are running dangerously low across Aleppo City. The healthcare system in northern Syria is collapsing, with vaccinations and medicines urgently needed, MSF and UNICEF warn.
  • Recent fighting has displaced thousands of families from Aleppo’s 1070 Apartments project and the Riyadah neighborhood. Many are staying with host families, while thousands are in mosques, schools or open shelter.
  • The number of registered internally displaced people (IDPs) is expected to rise,

2. Humanitarian Access

Access to Aleppo City remains severely limited despite a newly established alternative route following the closure of Castello Road, the last remaining access road into eastern Aleppo City, on 7 July (Castello Road in eastern Aleppo City came under GoS control on 7 July and western Aleppo City came under the control of non-state armed groups on 7 August). An alternative route to western Aleppo City, whereby aid and fuel was delivered in recent days, and the potential use of the Ramouseh Road to eastern Aleppo city may help increase access. If a newly established alternative route into western Aleppo City remains open and secure, this could present an opportunity to access the population.

In the absence of a full ceasefire, the UN continues to call for a weekly 48-hour humanitarian pause to reach those in need. This would provide the minimum amount of time to move humanitarian staff and adequate amounts of supplies into both sides of the city. Humanitarian organizations in Damascus and from the cross-border operation from Turkey are coordinating plans to reach the most people in need in the most efficient manner, which may include convoys from either location. Operational planning has begun for this to be able to move quickly once access is possible.

Access to healthcare is limited and targeting of hospitals and clinics has continued unabated, seriously jeopardizing the health care system raising fears of an increase in acute malnutrition, measles and other preventable childhood diseases. In the last three weeks, five of nine hospitals in eastern Aleppo City were repeatedly attacked and health services severely disrupted. Unconfirmed reports are that only 39 doctors remain in the area. Limited access to vaccinations for children is a grave concern in particular for those children living on the frontlines and conflict – affected areas. In eastern Aleppo City more than 275,000 people – over a third of them children – are reportedly relying on water from wells potentially contaminated by fecal matter and unsafe to drink, MSF reports.

3. Humanitarian Needs, Gaps and Response

Around two million people across Aleppo City remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, health services and water. Unimpeded, safe and immediate access to all areas of Aleppo City remains imperative to provide life-saving assistance to civilians. The UN has repeatedly called for a fully-fledged ceasefire or a minimum of weekly 48-hour humanitarian pauses to reach those in need. Food stocks are running low and many commodities are unavailable or are now three times the price of what they were. Immediate access is needed to deliver food and medical supplies and for technicians to repair electricity networks, transmissions centers and electrical sub-stations (see map) that drive water pumping stations, heavily damaged in attacks in recent weeks. On both 10 and 11 August, UNICEF partners delivered 16,000 liters of fuel to the Suleiman Al Halabi water pumping station to support 1.2 million people across Aleppo City. Should the road remain open, UNICEF can maintain these supplies for a further 15 days, while it, along with ICRC, also continues to truck water for 325,000 people. Despite that, over two million people are without access to electricity and the city’s public water network. Since the beginning of August, electric power stations, water pumping stations, mills, health facilities and wells have been severely impacted both by fuel shortages across the city and damage as a result of ongoing fighting.

The UN and its partners stand ready to send truckloads of life-saving supplies into Aleppo City within 24 to 48 hours, if access is granted and security permits. This includes 80,000 pre-positioned food baskets to sustain 400,000 people for one month, providing 1,930 kcal a day for a family of five with 37 kg of bread, 19 kg of rice, 19 kg of lentils, 5 kg of sugar, and 7 kg of vegetable oil. Ambulances stand ready to be sent into Aleppo City and additional medicines can be delivered from Syria. It is also vital for humanitarian staff to move into the city to assist with programming or rotate out staff who have been trapped there.

The information in this note was compiled by the Regional Office for the Syria Crisis based on a variety of sources, including UN agencies, international non-governmental organizations and media reports.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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