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Idlib’s “lost village” al-Mazoula deprived of essential needs

Syrian child walking in the rain in Aleppo Labeeh camp – 24 April 2020 (Enab Baladi)

Syrian child walking in the rain in Aleppo Labeeh camp – 24 April 2020 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Idlib countryside

“A lost village” is how the residents of the al-Mazoula area describe their village, which is administratively affiliated with Jisr al-Shughur city in the countryside of Idlib.

The village earned this description for its lack of essential services, along with being marginalized by humanitarian and charitable organizations and their development programs.

Absence of drinking water, electricity, and sanitation

The lack of drinking water and proper sanitation services, as well as the lack of paved streets, and the accumulation of rain-water on the dirt roads of the village, are the most prominent features that the village’s passers-by or those looking to its photos might recognize at first glance.

The residents recounted stories of their suffering in an opinion poll conducted by Enab Baladi through its program “What is your problem,” which is broadcast on Enab Baladi’s social media platforms every Thursday and Monday per week.

The village also lacks access to electricity, forcing some residents to use small power generators.

As for drinking water, the residents rely on storying rain-water or buying water from water tanker trucks when they can afford the cost —eight thousand Syrian Pounds (SYP- 6 USD) per tank.

The village is not equipped with a sanitation system; therefore, its residents resort to small pit latrines.

“forgotten village”

Ahmed al-Ali, the head of the village’s local council, confirmed to Enab Baladi what the al-Mazoula villagers said, by attributing the above-mentioned problems to the absence of organizations’ support, due to the village’s geographical location.

The village is affiliated to Jisr al-Shughur city, which is considered an intense military zone. Al-Ali stressed that they have appealed to all humanitarian organizations to provide their support; however, their calls fell on deaf ears.

Al-Ali added that the village’s population of 4,200 people and 250 displaced families are living in “black” dire poverty.

Not alone

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), published a report on 17 April mentioning that most assessed communities of northern Aleppo and Idlib (total of 461 communities estimated), no longer have access to livelihood opportunities, leaving both the host community and displaced households extremely vulnerable.

The report also mentioned that IDPs and the host villages are struggling to access healthcare given the lack of transportation to health facilities, the long distance to reach the closest medical point, and lack of facilities in the area in general. 

OCHA’s report also stated that nearly all basic services in north-west Syria have been partially damaged due to the war in those areas.

The report then listed the assessed communities’ needs according to their priority as follows: electricity networks, water supply networks, roads, schools, hospitals, health facilities, and community dug wells.

The percentage of electricity networks that have been cut off and completely damaged due to the war in north-western Syria is 56 of the total number of villages assessed by OCHA’s report.

Besides, about 32 percent of the assessed communities’ telecommunications and internet networks have been completely damaged.

The report added that sanitation, one of the most common problems, makes up 47 percent of the total needs, as 57,736 families complained of the absence of proper sanitation.

Moreover, 33 percent of the assessed villages by OCHA’s report have sewage flowing into the streets along with insufficient garbage collection, resulting in the presence of garbage in the streets.

Only seven percent of people with disabilities out of 32 assessed villages have access to toilets (latrines), according to OCHA’s report.

Urgent need of aid

Another report by OCHA entitled “Recent Humanitarian Developments in Syria,” published on 16 April, indicated that 11 million people are in dire need of assistance of all kinds.

The report mentioned that the humanitarian needs remain immense for people in north-west Syria, despite the suspension of military combat, air raids, and the limited artillery bombardment, after the Russian-Turkish cease-fire was announced, on 5 March in north-western Syria.

People in northern Syria suffer from enormous humanitarian needs unparalleled by any of those recorded at any other phase of the long-term effects of the conflict, owing to severe levels of violence and displacement, and the high number of war casualties before the cease-fire announcement.

The locations to which the displaced persons have been forced to flee to are at the forefront of the long-term needs in areas of health, education, and nutrition. There is also an increasing demand for the most urgent needs, such as shelter, drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, food, and security in north-western Syria.

OCHA’s report mentioned that those needs are particularly critical for an estimated 940,000 people displaced by the violence in north-western Syria since 1 December 2019.

 

 

 

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