Syrians in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo have called on aid organisations for help after refugee camps were severely flooded by heavy rains last night.
Storms swept away hundreds of tents used by internally displaced families, with rainwater damaging the few goods and possessions they had with them. In some low lying areas, water levels rose above the knee as humanitarian activists and While Helmets Civil Defence units attempted to rescue people from the camps and transport them to safety.
Flooded roads prevented ambulances accessing injured civilians, as teams worked throughout the night to evacuate children and the elderly from the freezing conditions. Locals said that the floods, the result of days of rain, were the worst they had witnessed since the start of the conflict.
Activists also complained that the aid promised by the UN and other agencies was not being seen in the northern provinces, amid growing fears of the spread of disease with raw sewage spreading through the streets. Civil Defence units added that they had contacted Turkish authorities to provide emergency support and help the civilians in repairing the camps.
100s of tents in several refugee camps became unusable and 1000s of refugees are effected by flood after heavy rain in northwestern Syria. pic.twitter.com/mG50bdlRih
— Memet Aksakal (Eng) (@Fixer_Turkey) December 27, 2018
Some six million Syrians displaced inside the country face worsened humanitarian conditions this winter, with many severely lacking basic food and medical supplies.
Hospitals and relief agencies have also faced a strangulating lack of resources; earlier this week Al-Ekhlas hospital in northern Idlib province appealed to aid organisations to provide funds to the charity hospital that provides healthcare and treatment for some 75,000 people in the opposition-held territory.
Since funding from the international NGO World Vision was reportedly stopped in November, hospital head Dr Zuhair Qarrat said the facility has struggled to make ends meet, but fears that closure would force civilians to use regime-administered hospitals, where they are vulnerable to arrest and torture.
Whilst hundreds of refugees inside and outside Syria have been driven back into regime-held territory due to the harsh living conditions over the past few months, many have refused the offer due to fear of reprisals by the regime upon their return.