Taps run dry for two million people as fighting intensifies in Aleppo


Taps run dry for two million people as fighting intensifies in Aleppo

On 5 August 2016 in Aleppo city in the Syrian Arab Republic, many mosques have opened their doors to families fleeing the latest fighting but they are full now. These families stay in an open area near Raees Mosque in western Aleppo city, since there is no room left inside after the latest wave of attacks.

As of 2 August 2016 in the Syrian Arab Republic, children in Aleppo city are again facing terrible threats from new intense attacks and fighting in the western parts of the city, while around 120,000 children are among the nearly 300,000 people cut off from life-saving humanitarian aid in the east. In the past few days, violence and fighting escalated with children in the line of fire.  UNICEF is calling for immediate access to deliver urgently needed nutritional supplements, medicines, critical health supplies and clean water.
On the evening of 2 August 2016, mortar attacks threatened thousands of families in what became the front line neighbourhoods of ‘1070’ and al-Riyadah – a community of 25,000 people already displaced by the Syrian conflict, living in makeshift shelters. Over the past two years, UNICEF has worked intensively with other UN agencies and partners to support these displaced families with water supply, education, psycho-social support and health services. By night’s end, virtually all 25,000 people, including around 12,000 children, had fled the bombardments with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

© UNICEF/UN027711/Al-Issa

DAMASCUS/HONG KONG, 9 August 2016 – Two million people in Aleppo are left with no access to running water through the public network, as escalation of attacks and fighting damaged electricity networks essential to pump water supplies throughout the city.

On 31 July attacks struck the electricity transmission station which powered water pumping to the eastern and western parts of the city. Authorities were able to urgently restore an alternative power line on 4 August and the city’s water system was functioning again. But in less than 24 hours, the intensification in fighting had damaged these lines, hampering all repair efforts. As a result, the whole city has been without running water for four days.

“Children and families in Aleppo are facing a catastrophic situation. These cuts are coming amid a heat wave, putting children at a grave risk of waterborne diseases,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “Getting clean water running again cannot wait for the fighting to stop. Children’s lives are in serious danger.”

UNICEF with partners are scaling up the emergency response to bring safe drinking water to civilians in the city. However, urgent repairs to electricity infrastructure are critical as pumping water is the only way to meet the needs of the city’s two million residents. Unless water pumping is restored in the coming days civilians will be forced to resort to unsafe water sources.

“We urge parties to the conflict to immediately allow safe access for technicians to conduct critical repairs to the electricity and water systems. This is the only way people all over the city can have safe drinking water. Civilian infrastructure like electricity and water pumping stations must never be attacked,” said Singer.