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Millions in Damascus face water shortage

January 5, 2017 at 4:53 pm

About 5.5 million inhabitants of Damascus and its environs have been cut off from the central water supply, the UN has warned.

Some 70 per cent of the capital’s water comes from the valley of Wadi Barada, which is under opposition control.

Deputy official spokespersons of the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq speaking to reporters said: “The 5.5 million residents of Damascus and its suburbs remain cut off from water supplies because of the fighting in Wadi Barada, where the city receives 70 per cent of the water.”

The shortage of supply is reported to have increased water prices considerably. According to Haq, drinking water in the city increased by between six and ten times, and the shortage threatens the spread of infectious diseases.

The UN also reported that the authorities in Damascus announced the implementation of an action plan in an emergency situation to meet the basic needs of its inhabitants. Trucks are delivering water tanks to schools, hospitals and bakeries, as well as in a number of areas of the city.

Huck also confirmed that the UN has restored and arranged the 120 wells in the Damascus area, which meets a third of the demand. “On December 22 these wells were the only water source in Damascus,” the UN representative said. The UN has also provided the authorities with equipment to check water purity, generators and fuel, which ensure the operation of the pumps.

The main water source of Damascus is El-Fiji in the valley of Wadi Barada. Last month, opposition forces blew up the pipeline supplying the city’s water. In recent weeks, Syrian troops carried out operations to seize control of area. According to the UN, fighting in the area has forced thousands to flee.