Taps run dry for two million people as fighting intensifies in Aleppo
TORONTO/DAMASCUS, August 9, 2016 - Two million people in Aleppo are left with no access to running water through the public network, as escalation of attacks and fighting damaged electricity networks essential to pump water supplies throughout the city.
On July 31, attacks struck the electricity transmission station which powered water pumping to the eastern and western parts of the city. Authorities were able to urgently restore an alternative power line on August 4, and the city’s water system was functioning again. But in less than 24 hours, the intensification in fighting had damaged these lines, hampering all repair efforts. As a result, the whole city has been without running water for four days.
“Children and families in Aleppo are facing a catastrophic situation. These cuts are coming amid a heat wave, putting children at a grave risk of waterborne diseases,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “Getting clean water running again cannot wait for the fighting to stop. Children’s lives are in serious danger.”
UNICEF with partners are scaling up the emergency response to bring safe drinking water to civilians in the city. However, urgent repairs to electricity infrastructure are critical as pumping water is the only way to meet the needs of the city’s two million residents. Unless water pumping is restored in the coming days civilians will be forced to resort to unsafe water sources.
“We urge parties to the conflict to immediately allow safe access for technicians to conduct critical repairs to the electricity and water systems. This is the only way people all over the city can have safe drinking water. Civilian infrastructure like electricity and water pumping stations must never be attacked,” said Singer.