Children walk through mud and flood water in a displacement camp in Idlib, Syria. March storms brought catastrophic rains in the wake of the fatal February 2023 earthquakes that impacted the same communities.
Credit: Hurras Network / Save the Children.
Syria: Children Terrified of Sleeping in Tents as Storms and Flooding Damage Shelters of Families Already Affected by the Earthquakes
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (March 20, 2023)—Torrential rainfall and flooding have damaged camps and villages across earthquake-affected areas of northern Syria, with children too scared to sleep in tents, Save the Children warned today.
More than 4,000 families in northern Syria have been affected by the flooding, which has caused extensive damage, particularly in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). At least 375 tents sheltering families have been destroyed or left uninhabitable, and over 530 tents were partially damaged, according to Save the Children’s partners in the area.
The flooding has also cut off roads, restricting efforts to reach communities who are still in need of humanitarian assistance following last month’s earthquakes.
The flooding happened as the international community prepared to meet today in Brussels to pledge funding and support an effective response to the vast scale of needs in both Türkiye and Syria. This is a critical window to meet ongoing immediate needs and help children recover.
Samira,* 38, is a mother of three. She and her children have been living in a makeshift camp since the earthquakes forced them to flee the camp they had been living in for four years. She said:
“Ever since the earthquake, I’ve been trying to convince my children that the tent is safe. The sound of the thunder and the flood is making them and myself scared and cry. People here are telling us that if rain continues, it might drown the camp completely. We haven’t recovered from the fear of the earthquake yet, and we have to deal with this now.”
In another impacted camp in northern Aleppo, Sanaa,* who is seven years old, says she is worried about her younger siblings. She told her mother, “Let us not sleep tonight. You hold Majed* [her little brother] and I will hold Sara* [her little sister] so they don’t drown while sleeping.” The family has been living in the camp for the past four years.
Kathryn Achilles, Advocacy, Media, and Communications Director for Save the Children Syria, said:
“The flooding shows how truly vulnerable children and their families are across northern Syria. The rains have compounded their needs, forcing them once again from their shelter, leaving them to pick up the pieces. What more can children be expected to endure? Today, the international community needs to make concrete commitments to supporting them, so that children have safe places to sleep, access to education, and protection services including psycho-social support to process all that has happened to them.”
Save the Children has been providing assistance to the children in need in Syria since 2012. Save the Children’s programming combines emergency and lifesaving interventions with early recovery activities that support the restoration of basic services, and aims to reach every last child in need.
As part of the earthquake response, Save the Children is delivering aid through partners, responding in Idlib, Aleppo, and Raqqa governorates, and providing emergency food rations, blankets, tents, and warm clothing. Save the Children is also making sure children and their families can keep clean, healthy, and protected from illness and diseases, as well as providing protection services, including psychosocial support.
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