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Floods in north Syria destroy camps hosting 40,000 people

Floods in Syria's Idlib - [Ahmad Darweesh / Twitter]
Syrian children are seen amid flood water in Idlib, Syria [Ahmad Darweesh / Twitter]

Floods in the north of Syria have affected more than 40,000 displaced people living in refugee camps near the Turkish border, the UN announced yesterday.

Speaking as some 24 trucks of humanitarian aid arrived at 14 of the affected camps, David Swanson of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said heavy rains had caused significant damage to the little infrastructure refugees had.

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 to the knee as humanitarian activists attempted to rescue people from the camps and transport them to safety.

The White Helmets has been working consistently over the past few days to save people and their scant belongings from the rising muddy waters. The civil defence unit stated yesterday that more than 537 camps hosting over 8,000 families are badly damaged from the floodwater.

READ: Syria regime attacks displaced 200,000 civilians in five months

The downpour has affected tens of thousands of civilians, crops and livestock in Idlib, whilst in neighbouring Aleppo a hospital was forced to suspend service due to the rising waters.

This is not the first time heavy flooding has hit camps in the north this winter. In late December, some 32,000 people were left homeless in freezing conditions, with locals stating that the floods were the worst they had witnessed in eight years.

The last opposition stronghold, the province of Idlib is home to over three million civilians, a third of whom are believed to be children. But the province has faced a strangulating lack of resources, with many facilities lacking basic food and medical supplies.

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.

READ: UN says 2018 deadliest year yet for Syrian children

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