Rainstorms damage IDP camps in northwest Syria, including those housing earthquake survivors
Heavy rain in northwestern Syria has caused damage to camps where those internally displaced by the years-long war and recent catastrophic earthquake reside.
The storms, which hit Syria earlier this week, are forecasted to continue throughout the weekend, exacerbating the difficulties that IDPs are already faced with in camps.
Marwan Al-Jabal, a director for one of the camps, told The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: "Yesterday night was very difficult for people in the camp because of the storm. The tents [in the camp] were built on an agricultural clay land and not equipped for housing".
"Water had entered from the bottom of the tents and some tents [blew away] due to the wind. Many tents also submerged due to the [amounts of] water".
The White Helmets, who operate in opposition-held areas of Syria, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that ten tents partially collapsed in the Aleppo governorate, and that their teams responded by opening roads and channels to drain water, as well as withdrawing water to places far away from the camps".
An activist, Khader al-Obeid, also said that camps in Afrin were damaged, and that helpless families had no choice but "to wait for the storm to end".
Meanwhile, Ziad Harkush, a White Helmets volunteer, warned that storms could reach other areas in the opposition-held region, including Manbij.
They said camp residents must "ensure that the tents are well fixed", particularly tens that were put up for earthquake survivors. They also added pointing out that its teams are ready around the clock, ready to respond to any distress calls.
The aid group also said that they have deployed teams to provide instructions to drivers and respond to any emergencies on dangerous roads.
People in northwestern Syria are annually subjected to harsh winter conditions, which are exacerbated by as residents live in ill-equipped camps with few adequate facilities. Many people, especially children, have died due to freezing weather.
According to the White Helmets, around 200,000 people are said to be affected – a number which has increased due to those left homeless and displaced by the devastating earthquake which hit the country, as well as neighbouring Turkey on 6 February, killing at least 50,000 people.