Mon 18 January 2021:
Heavy rainfall has flooded hundreds of tents on Sunday occupied by internally displaced Syrian families in the northeastern Idlib province, local media reported.
According to media reports, the rainstorm that hit the region on Sunday night swept away 40 canvas tents housing displaced people in Ghuraba Al-Sham refugee camp, as well as in the Duwailah camp, north of Idlib. Meanwhile, the strong winds uprooted many of the tents in the Duwailah camp.
Winter conditions have started to show their damaging impact on northeastern Syria’s Idlib province, where thousands of displaced Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance struggle to hold onto life in refugee camps.
Over the weekend, heavy rain hit the province, leaving the camps in mud and water as shelters become unusable. Now, the refugees are calling on the international community to clear the camp, provide firewood, hygiene products and food as there is a scarcity of even basic necessities.
The camp residents appealed to aid organisations to help shelter the affected families as the rainstorm continues to hit the region.
As many as 18 other refugee camps have also been affected by the storm.
According to media reports, the majority of these camps were established on agricultural lands that turn into mud swamps with the onset of the rain season.
The Syrian-Turkish border strip houses dozens of camps for Syrian refugees displaced from Hama, Aleppo and Idlib who suffer from extremely difficult living conditions.
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“Our tents are flooded. We are expecting humanitarian aid,” said Amir Mercan, head of the Keferarouk camp in northwestern Idlib,
Since the whole camp is filled with puddles, Mercan said, the water trucks that are supposed to distribute water among the camp residents in normal circumstances cannot deliver to the camp.
Expressing that they got through the night with many difficulties, Mercan stated that the families whose shelters have become unusable have been resettled to other tents.
“We are cold. It’s very chilling. We have nothing. When there is rain, we just wait for it to stop helplessly,” said Haşfe Bekkur, whose camp was also flooded.
Underlining that she suffered a lot in the winter conditions, Bekkur said that they are trying to warm themselves with plastic pieces they collect outside the camp.
“I leave everything’s punishment to God. We have been living here for a year now. At first, we were receiving aid. Now, they are as few as if there is no aid at all,” she continued, adding that her only dream is to have some firewood to get warm.
Lacking proper winter clothes, including coats and boots, the children in the al-Khazzan camp in northern Idlib’s rural areas could face life-threatening conditions, while families are concerned about the children’s health as there are no medical centers close to the camp.
“We don’t go to school. I help my mother. I try to bring her water. I have a big wound on my foot, but we couldn’t go to the hospital because there is heavy rain and the hospital is very far away,” said Nawal, a Syrian girl, quoted by Ihlas News Agency (IHA).
“We are in a troubling condition. I am living here for eight months and no humanitarian aid group has come to help. There is no firewood or drinking water,” Abdullah, another resident of the camp, also said.
Living with her children in the camp, a single mother named Umm al-Abd said children have been helping their parents remove the water from the camps.
“We don’t even have clothes. There are no places to buy groceries. We cannot walk due to the mud. Everything is wet,” she said.
Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in Syria, has been battered by repeated military offensives by the Bashar Assad regime and is home to nearly 4 million people, most of them displaced and living in tent camps or unfinished buildings.
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