Damascus – More than four million people in Damascus are enduring deteriorating living conditions amid an acute shortage of drinking water, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Thursday.
Since December 22, the Syrian capital and its suburbs have been cut off from the aquifers which used to supply them. The infrastructure which carried the water has also been damaged.
“[The] two primary sources of clean and safe drinking water, that served 70% of the population in and around Damascus, are not functioning due to their deliberate targeting,” OCHA reported.
The UN has expressed deep concerns about the fate of the affected Syrian civilians, stressing that the crisis could lead to waterborne diseases, particularly among children. Throughout Syria, close to 15 million people are in need of water assistance.
In addition, the water crisis is imposing a significant financial strain on destitute families. According to the United Nations, Syrian households spend up to 25% of their income to meet their daily water needs.
The UN emphasized that all “basic services essential for survival, such as water supply, must be safeguarded and protected at all times.”
According to OCHA, 13.5 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance, including 4.9 million people trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.
As the Syrian crisis enters its sixth year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict marked by unparalleled suffering and destruction. The United Nations has repeatedly called “on all parties to reach peaceful agreements to alleviate the suffering of civilians.”
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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