In Syria's water crisis there is a risk of epidemics hitting the youngest children
The situation of the children in Aleppo is getting worse and worse. The intensification of the fighting in Syria between armed opposition groups and the government forces, say a UNICEF press release, has led to the disappearance of Castle Road, which was the only access for bringing humanitarian aid to the east side of Aleppo, where nearly 300,000 people are living.
The increase in the violence has led to more deaths and injuries among the inhabitants, including children, and to the destruction of the civil infrastructure, the water supply systems, hospitals and schools throughout the city.
On 12 July, two water wells, equipped and supported by several international non-governmental organizations, were targeted and damaged. This action has left 15,000 people without water.
On 8 July, the so-called Islamic State deliberately turned off the main water treatment plant, which was the only source of drinking water for more than two million people in Aleppo and in the eastern part of the Governorate. Aleppo subsequently remained without water for four days. UNICEF, in collaboration with the authorities, has coordinated emergency maintenance and the plant now functions. Nevertheless, because of the increased fighting in Aleppo, there is an imminent risk of further cuts of the water resources, with serious consequences. Water shortages would indeed affect the health facilities and schools, and the children are the most vulnerable to waterborne diseases.
"The belligerents have obligations, under International Law, with regard to the protection of civilians: they must implement measures to limit civilian casualties and protect the civilian infrastructure. The safe and continued function of the water system's infrastructure is essential—concludes UNICEF in its statement—to preserve the lives of civilians, and all the belligerent sides must fulfill their obligations in this regard."