Tue 13 Nov 2018

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Torrents Invade Daraa’s Camps and Farms

The drowning of refugee camps due to torrents in rural Daraa – April 2018 (Nabaa)

The drowning of refugee camps due to torrents in rural Daraa – April 2018 (Nabaa)

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Daraa governorate and Southern Syria in general have witnessed unprecedented rainfall last week, hitting dozens of towns and villages with torrents that displaced a number of the camp’s families and revealed the “secrets” in the Assad’s forces control areas.

Even though Damascus has caught the eyes of the viewers, Daraa was not better, for its eastern rural parts have suffered horrifying days; the rain water has invaded the streets in the eastern parts of the governorate and filled the dams that have been dry for years; the water also returned to the al-Zaidi valley, which the area’s people have not seen running since the eighties of the last century.

Mohammad al-Hassan, a resident at the outskirts of the Ghasm told Enab Baladi that the water entered his house, and that the reason behind the torrents is not the rain alone, for the dams in the As-Suwayda governorate have also flooded, forcing the managers to open their gates more than usual fearing the damage that might befell them; the dams’ water, accordingly, led their way through the valleys towards the towns in the eastern countryside of Daraa, especially those of Ghasm, Bosra and al-Sahwah.

Mohammad and many other families called on the “Civil Defense” teams for help, which in their turn were compelled to evacuate the people who lived at the outskirts of the al-Zaidi valley. For hours, the teams worked hard to move the tents of the Bedouins’ who lived in the area’s plains, which the water drowned.

While the people’s losses were materialistic only. In a rare sight the water, covered the space in the Bosra’s castle theater, and life went back to the dam in the two towns of Ghasm and Elemtaih, following long years of drought.

Despite the distance that separated it from the dams’ floods, the situation in the western countryside of Daraa was as tragic, for dozens of refugee camps are spread in the area.

The torrents damaged dozens of tents, in the Zaizon camp in particular and forced dozens of families, as well, to leave the camp in search for another shelter, waiting for the storm to end, after which they will return to consider their losses.

Secrets Revealed

In spite of the catastrophe, the rain revealed the secrets hidden in the Assad’s forces control areas, which were held from the spectators for the past years, for dozens of basements in al-Sahari, al-Sabil neighborhoods and those in the northern parts of the railway, flooded with water, and the majority of the streets in Daraa al-Mahtta were closed after they drowned.

The people appealed to the Red Crescent teams and the Daraa Municipality to save the people in the basements from drowning and to open the roads.

The most affected neighborhoods were the low leveled ones, especially al-Sahari, al-Sabil neighborhoods, those in the northern parts of the railway and the airport, in addition to a limited destruction in the al-Kashaf neighborhood, a source from the Red Crescent told Enab Baladi.

The source uncovered the reality behind the calamity, especially that Daraa enjoys a good drainage infrastructure if compared to other areas and that it has never suffered similar incidents.

Assad’s forces have closed all the major drainage inlets with iron covers, fearing that the opposition fighters might use them to sneak into the area, the source explained, pointing out that this inlets were decided to be cleaned of the dirt and the waste that accumulated in them due to the iron covers by the municipality workers, however, the cleaning process was never conducted, the price of which was paid by the area’s people.

The Farmers Were Not Spared

The farmers also had their own share of suffering due to the rain because their crops, the summer harvest in particular, were severely affected by the strong wind and the heavy rainfall.

Hilal al-A’Jaj told Enab Baladi that torrential water and hailstones damaged the immature lemons and oranges, as well as the pomegranate flowers; many of them fell to the ground, destroying the season’s harvest before its start.

The farmer pointed out, that the farmers who counted on the summer crops, such as watermelon, suffered a real financial loss after the rainfall has affected their lands, which will lead them to discount the prices as to survive the season with the least loss possible.

The latest storm and torrential rainfall has caused the people massive material damages; they almost caused deaths, similar to what happened in the Zaatari refugee camp, in Jordan, when a young mand died due to the massive torrents that invaded the camp.

It seems that the people are, today, bound to follow the weather forecasters to prepare themselves very well to face the upcoming storms, with the same degree of attentiveness they bestow to the opposition military observatories that warn them of potential air raids.

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