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Emergency water support for children and families in conflict-affected north-east Syria

By David Youngmeyer

Qamishly, 7 August 2014 – Amid ongoing conflict in Syria, UNICEF continues to support access to water for millions of children and families.

The conflict is placing an increasing strain on existing water networks. A lack of electricity, for example, means that water pumping stations do not have sufficient power to pump water to local populations. Essential water infrastructure has been severely degraded, with many water supply and sanitation systems not fully functional, damaged, or in need of repair.

Across the country, UNICEF supports 16.5 million people’s access to safe water through the provision of water purification supplies. UNICEF also provides fuel and generators to ensure continuous operation of pumping stations during power outages. Other support includes water storage tanks, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.

In Qamishly for example – a city in north-eastern Hassekeh governorate where electricity is in short supply – UNICEF has provided local authorities with two 250 kilo-volt diesel generators to keep pumping stations working and help maintain the flow of water to children and families.

The most recent generator was installed at the Jaghjagh Water Station in Qamishly city, which will allow more than 19,000 people in Qamishly to be reached with water each day.

UNICEF has also supported the installation of 10 water tanks in Hassakeh governorate to improve community access to water, including at three hospitals. Five 45,000 litre and five 70,000 litre storage tanks have been made available through water authorities.

The latest water tank to be installed was at the 200-bed National Hospital in Qamishly, which provides health services to more than 43,000 people each month. The 45,000 litre tank boosts the hospitals’ storage capacity by 38 per cent and provides an important backup water source in case of emergency.

Dr Omer Al Akoub helps technical staff to put the finishing touches on a UNICEF-provided 45,000 litre water tank installed at the National Hospital in Qamishly. Dr. Al Akoub heads the 200-bed hospital which provides health services to more than 43,000 people each month. ©UNICEF/Syria-2014/Youssef

A UNICEF-provided 45,000 litre water tank is boosting the emergency water storage capacity of the National Hospital in Qamishly. ©UNICEF/Syria-2014/Youssef