Damascus and Amman, 5 April 2020
The United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Mr. Imran Riza, and the United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Mr. Kevin Kennedy, are deeply concerned over persistent interruption of essential services to families in Syria, particularly those vital to safeguard community health against COVID-19.
In the past month, Alouk water station, a critically important source of clean water for nearly half a million people in northeast Syria, has been disrupted multiple times. We are in the midst of a global public health crisis that has the potential to inflict a devastating impact on vulnerable communities across Syria. Families must have uninterrupted and sufficient access to water to protect themselves against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of today, Alouk water station is operating, and we acknowledge and thank the parties involved for their cooperation. We further urge all parties to ensure that humanitarian infrastructure is not politicized and all essential services are fully protected, in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.
Since Alouk water station was first damaged in hostilities in October last year, humanitarian partners, including UNICEF, have delivered millions of liters of emergency water to families in the affected area, including in Al-Hasakeh city, Tal Tamer, Al-Hol and Areesha camps. Support is also ongoing to rehabilitate the nearby Al-Himme water station.
However, these measures cannot replace the necessary and urgent water needs of the area, and we emphasize that any future disruption to the water station, or any other essential service, compromises the safety and well-being of civilians. All parties must exercise maximum restraint and we echo the call of the Secretary-General for a complete and immediate ceasefire. We must all cooperate to ramp up our collective efforts to counter a possible COVID-19 outbreak in Syria.
For further information:
Danielle Moylan, Spokesperson OCHA Syria, firstname.lastname@example.org +961 81771 978 David Swanson, Spokesperson OCHA Regional Office for the Syria Crisis, email@example.com +962 791 417 882
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.