Syria (Hama Region): Dam collapse/Flooding Appeal No. 15/02 Final Report

Originally published


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Launched on 6 June, 2002 for CHF 581,000 for 1 month for 8,000 beneficiaries; Appeal coverage: 77.4%

Operational Developments

The Zaizon dam, located in the northwestern part of Syria, collapsed on 4 June 2002 at 15h40. A flash flood swept away Zaizon village, and struck four additional villages: Msheek, Al-Ziyara, Quarqoor and Tal-Wast before reaching the Orontes river.

Fortunately the residents of Zaizon village had seen the cracks developing in the dam, and managed to flee to a high ridge. For the neighbouring villages, however, the flash flood came completely by surprise and left 21 dead. In Zaizon, 251 houses were completely destroyed and 129 sustained partial damage.


Local authorities in the flood-affected areas managed the coordination of the relief operation.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Action

Volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent's (SARC) Hama and Edlib branches were in the flood-affected area within hours of the dam's collapse distributing food to flood victims. That night, two trucks from SARC headquarters arrived at the SARC's Hama branch with the first shipment of tents and blankets.

Within 48 hours of the dam's collapse, thirty SARC volunteers erected the 135 tent, Zaizon tent-camp. SARC ran the camp for the first month following the dam's collapse. SARC volunteers and staff stayed in the camp, sharing tents with the disaster victims. SARC volunteers were responsible for distributing all of the relief items in the camp that were delivered from government warehouses. The volunteers were also involved in distributing relief items in the villages.

From the day the camp was established, SARC staff and volunteers organised health education and cleaning in the camp. One month following the collapse of the dam, with the emergency phase having come to an end, management of the camp was handed over to the local authorities. The volunteers were then able to return to school and work. The camp was eventually closed after having assisted flood victims for three months. SARC Hama branch staff, however, continued to conduct follow up visits, every two days for an additional six months.

Twenty full-time SARC staff members, and 180 volunteers, from all over Syria, were involved in bringing humanitarian assistance to flood victims. Most of the volunteers were young, ranging in ages from 18-25 years old. Some of them elected to volunteer even though they were in the middle of their examinations. The Hama and Edlib branches were in charge of the operation, with extensive support from SARC headquarters. The branches did a very good job conducting the operation, especially considering that this was their first disaster relief operation. The beneficiaries thought highly of the SARC's work.

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