Renewed Syrian and Russian airstrikes in East Aleppo are stretching resources beyond breaking point, with more than a quarter of a million people in Syria facing winter with limited food and clean water.
Three aid agencies on the ground in the area – Oxfam, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the Big Heart Foundation – have warned the humanitarian catastrophe in the city will deepen unless there is a complete halt in the fighting, an end to airstrikes and aid is allowed to get through.
No international aid convoys have reached East Aleppo since the launch of a Syrian-Russian military offensive in late July.
Oxfam has moved a huge generator across conflict lines to the city’s main water station, Suleiman al-Halabi, to help improve the water supply, but all other aid to the area remains cut off. Oxfam’s generator will kick in when the power is cut to pump water to all of Aleppo’s residents.
The UN announced on 10 November that it was distributing its last food rations in East Aleppo, and warned of mass starvation if aid is not allowed in.
With ongoing airstrikes and bombardments targeting health facilities, the medical situation is on the brink of collapse. According to SAMS, there are only 29 doctors left in the area, and the children of East Aleppo have not been vaccinated.
Andy Baker, Oxfam’s lead for the Syria crisis response, said: “The two generators that Oxfam has provided should help provide a more consistent supply of clean water to Aleppo’s nearly two million residents. But food and medical supplies remain blocked. Clean water is vital, but it won’t stop starvation, never mind protect people from indiscriminate aerial attacks.”
Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, SAMS’s president, said: “The situation is extremely dire. Medical supplies will not last more than a few weeks now that the airstrikes have resumed and the city is under siege. The few remaining medical staff are exhausted and overwhelmed. The city doesn’t have fuel or other sources of energy. And without fuel, electric generators and ambulances cannot function. We have to act now before it’s too late.”
Abd Alwahab Jessry, Senior Advocacy Officer from the Big Heart Foundation, said: “We have distributed food rations to 22,180 families in East Aleppo since the first of October that would last them until the end of November. We urgently need to deliver more food to people there but for that, we are calling for a complete cessation of hostilities, an end to airstrikes and guarantees regarding the security of aid convoys.”
Donations to Oxfam’s response to the crisis in Syria can be made at https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/syria-crisis
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Notes to editors:
Oxfam has moved a second generator into Suleiman al-Halabi to power one of the three sterilization units. Before the crisis, the second sterilisation unit in Suleiman Al-Halabi was working at a total capacity of 7,000 kVA to operate 9 pumping sets. Oxfam’s two generators will be able to provide 4,000 KVA of the requested capacity.