Paris – Statement by the Syrian Network for Human Rights:
On the evening of December 18, 2021, a heavy rainstorm, accompanied by freezing cold winds, hit northwest Syria, lasting for four days. The resulting flooding caused severe damage to hundreds of camps in the area, including ripping and severely damaging tents or completely destroying them and washing them away. This was accompanied by the loss or damage of internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) remaining basic living necessities, such as clothes, sleeping and heating supplies, and foodstuffs.
The continuous downpour led to the accumulation of floodwater turning the areas among the tents into an impassable muddy quagmire, impeding the delivery of essential daily aid supplies such as drinking water and food, as well as obstructing the IDPs’ access to health services which depend on mobile clinics, with classrooms and clinics suspended, and muddy water leaking into some tents, damaging their contents; women, children and elderly people are the worst affected groups, since they are the most vulnerable among the IDPs, while evacuating pregnant women, persons with special needs, and the elderly suffering from chronic diseases, poses an additional challenge within the evacuation efforts to help those whose tents were submerged by the floodwaters or destroyed.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has contacted many camp officials, as well as a number of relief organizations working in these camps, in particular, in Atama, Deir Hassan, Mash-had Rouhin, Kafr Yahmoul, Ma’aret Misreen, and Kelli, which were among the areas worst hit by the storm in Idlib; the worst affected camps were found among 36 compounds in Idlib governorate and the western suburbs of Aleppo governorate, with the camps in Idlib, with these sites constituting 86% of the affected camps, while the remaining 14% were in the western suburbs of Aleppo.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights team has worked over the past few days to assess the damage to the affected camps; we have documented damage to nearly 400 camps, and according to the number of tents in each of these, we found that there are at least 5,163 tents were partially or completely damaged. We estimate, therefore, that around 3,642 families have lost their remaining shelter for varying periods of time, depending on the extent of the damage to the tents, their contents, and the speed of the relief response.