Perilous times shall come.
Torrential rains flood displaced camps in northern Syria
AFP•December 28, 2018
Atme (Syria) (AFP) – Torrential rains have washed away hundreds of tents in camps sheltering displaced Syrians in the north of the war-wracked country, aid groups have said, as residents pleaded for help. “On December 26… hundreds of tents were washed away in Atme, Dana, Sarmada and Qah in the northern countryside of Idlib,” the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations said in a statement Thursday.
“Many shelters, food and water stocks were ruined by flooding,” it said.
In the Omar camp in the town of Atme near the Turkish border, two days of heavy rains flooded flimsy plastic tents and turned nearby fields into pools of mud, said an AFP correspondent, who toured the area on Thursday. Residents of the makeshift homes said the deluge destroyed their few belongings, including bedding, leaving them with nothing as temperatures plunged below zero.
“My tent has been flooded and the waters have carried away the mattresses and the carpets we used to sleep on,” said Umm Adi, a widow and mother of four, who had sought refuge from the seven-year conflict in Omar camp.
“Even the spoons and the food are gone,” she told AFP. “Everything was lost in the floods. We have nothing left.”
Tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in the north of the country depend on handouts from humanitarian aid groups, including food, blankets and heating fuel, to survive the cold winter climate.
Since 2011, Syria’s war has killed more than 360,00 people and caused more than half the country’s population to flee their homes. Firas al-Modhi, 18, who fled the town of Halfaya in the central Hama province, also saw his family’s tent in Omar camp destroyed by the downpour.
“The rain and the water submerged our tent. Everything is wet. We don’t have a blanket left,” he said. With temperatures of zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) there was little to help him and his family stay warm, he said. “We appeal to aid groups to help us,” the young man said.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations, a France-based coalition of non-governmental organisations, also urged the international community and aid agencies “to release emergency funding” for those stricken by the floods. “People living in camps in northern Syria are facing difficult humanitarian conditions… The displaced people are humbly asking for help,” it said in its statement. It said rescuers were trying to assess the needs of the displaced and provide those affected by the bad weather with food aid. Displaced Syrians in the north whose camps have been flooded are in need of “adequate shelter, heating, clothing, water and food,” it added.