‘Save Rukban’ aid campaign launched in Syrian IDP camp

‘Save Rukban’ aid campaign launched in Syrian IDP camp
2 min read
09 August, 2022
A rare international aid campaign has been launched in al-Rukban camp to provide the residents with food and water.
Al-Rukban received its last UN aid shipment over three years ago and has since relied on smugglers for basic food and medicine [Getty]

A humanitarian campaign was launched at the Al-Rukban IDP camp on Monday to distribute water and food to families in need, after months of punishing water and food shortage.

The campaign - Save Rukban Camp - was launched by Molham Volunteer Team, a Syrian humanitarian NGO.

Al-Rukban, an IDP camp of about 10,000 residents in the arid no-man’s land between Syria and Jordan, has suffered from a severe lack of water and flour for the past two months. The camp is generally inaccessible and rarely receives assistance from international organisations.

Residents have complained that water has only been pumped into the camp for two hours a day and what reaches residents is contaminated. The camp relies on a UNHCR-operated well originating in Jordan.

"The suffering of the people of al-Rukban is a result of … the siege of the camp by the Assad regime and the prevention of aid from entering from across the [Jordanian] border," Faisal al-Aswad, the emergency response campaigns coordinator for Molham, told The New Arab.

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"The goal is emergency relief for the camp residents… until an international solution is found,” al-Aswad added.

The aid campaign will distribute water to 1,200 needy families and will supply flour to select ovens within the camp. The project will last a month, but can be extended if its fundraising campaign brings in enough donations.

Molham generated headlines earlier in the year for raising over $2 million via an online fundraising campaign for a home-building project in northwest Syria.

Though conditions in the camp have worsened in the last two months, which has been under a virtual siege since 2018.

The Syrian regime forbids any entry of goods from its territory, while Jordan refuses to allow international aid from its side.

The last UN aid convoy was sent to the camp over three years ago and malnourishment and other maladies are common.

The US military, which controls the area the camp is located in, also refuses to provide aid to the camp. Critics have said that as the de-facto controlling power of the area, the US has a humanitarian obligation to camp residents – but the US claims the responsibility lies with Damascus.

On 6 August, the Syrian National Coalition - the country's main opposition body - called on the US to take "urgent action" to save the residents of Al-Rukban camp.

It further called on the UN office in Amman to increase the amount and quality of water pumped into the camp to "ensure a decent life for the camp residents".