Floods destroy homes of quake survivors in northwest Syria

Adwan camp, Syria – Dozens of camps for displaced people in northwestern Syria have been damaged by flooding after a severe storm hit the area on Saturday evening.

Torrential rain overnight in the western countryside of Idlib province damaged hundreds of shelters, many of which were recently set up to house survivors of the two February 6 earthquakes. Roads were also impassable in some areas, according to the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets.

Several shelters were flooded in camps in the towns of Hafsarjah and Bishmaroun and shops collapsed in the village of Adwan, a Syrian civil defense official told Al Jazeera. Camps in the western and northeast countryside of Aleppo were also damaged.

“The torrential torrents damaged more than 40 camps, which were set up for people affected by the earthquake, in which more than 700 tents were damaged, a child was slightly injured and shops collapsed, in addition to block a number of roads. in towns and villages,” Munir Al-Mustafa, Syrian Civil Defense deputy director, told Al Jazeera.

Children wade through a pool of dirty water following torrential rains that hit camps for newly housed earthquake survivors in Syria [Al Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

Al-Mustafa told Al Jazeera that more than 300 tents for earthquake survivors in 20 camps were damaged. He said most of them had settled in quickly and lacked adequate protection from winter storms.

“The tragedy experienced by displaced people cannot be solved by providing them with temporary services in camps, because the tragedies can be endless and deprive people of the right to live safely in their homes. On the contrary, the only solution is to ensure the safety of civilians to return home, which would also reduce the need for humanitarian and relief aid,” al-Mustafa said.

Askarah al-Muhammad
Askarah al-Muhammad, 50, has three daughters and lives in Adwan camp in Sahl al-Rouj, in the western countryside of Idlib [Ali Haj Suleiman/ Al Jazeera]

Askarah al-Muhammad said she and her three daughters had to flee their tent in Adwan camp in Sahl al-Rouj when it started flooding overnight.

“I was with my daughters inside the tent when the rain started seeping into the tent and washing away all our things. We ran out of the camp without taking anything with us into the tent,” said al-Muhammad, 50.

Al-Muhammad said he lost contact with his daughters for hours amid the chaos before finding them on Sunday at a house in a nearby village, where they had fled overnight.

“It was a very difficult night. On the one hand, I was shivering with cold and had pain in my back because I had back problems. On the other hand, I was thinking about my daughters and what would have could have happened to them,” Al-Muhammad said.

“I can’t believe the calamities that happen to us successively, because today I lost everything inside my tent, and I don’t know how I could replace them. I am unable to perform professional duties due to my illness and my age.

Abu Abdullah
Adwan camp director Abu Abdullah said most of the families living in the camp are displaced from the town of Qalaat al-Madiq in the western countryside of Hama, Syria. [Ali Haj Suleiman/ Al Jazeera]

Adwan camp director Abu Abdullah told Al Jazeera that most of the families living in the camp, which is located in a low-lying area, are displaced from the town of Qalaat al-Madiq in the western countryside of the province of Hama.

“Some 223 families out of the 240 families living in the camp are now homeless due to the torrential rains,” Abu Abdullah said.

“All camp residents have been moved to schools and mosques in villages near the camp as a temporary solution, pending review of our situation by international organizations to rebuild the camp and provide emergency aid.”

The stormy weather was expected to continue on Sunday and the region is expected to experience a drop in temperatures, meteorologists said.

Saleh Al Ahmad
Saleh al-Ahmad now lives in a small tent with his family and his sister’s family [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

Saleh al-Ahmad, 37, lives in Adwan camp with his wife and two daughters.

He said when the rains fell late on Saturday, he rushed to help his daughters and wife, who is sick, out of the tent.

With his tent uninhabitable after the flood, al-Ahmad temporarily relocated his family to stay with his sister, who lives in a nearby camp that was unaffected by the storm.

“Camps, earthquakes and floods. Life has become very difficult since the day we fled our city to escape the bombings of [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad’s forces and Russia,” al-Ahmad said.

“We are tired of our appeals to all countries in the world to intervene to solve our tragedy and bring us back to our cities and towns.”


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