Tens of thousands of people who fled the northern Syrian city of Raqqa are in dire need of aid, warned an international aid group on Tuesday following the announcement of the total capture of the city from Islamic State [IS] militants.
Some 270,000 people who fled the fighting in Raqqa remain in critical need of aid and “camps are bursting at the seams”, Save the Children said.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-Arab alliance that has been fighting to capture Raqqa since June, said on Tuesday that they had fully captured the city, but the charity warned that the humanitarian crisis in the region is still escalating.
“The military offensive in Raqqa may be coming to an end, but the humanitarian crisis is greater than ever,” the aid group’s Syria director Sonia Khush said in a statement.
Conditions in the camps where displaced people from Raqqa are staying are “miserable and families do not have enough food, water or medicine”, Khush added.
Raqqa families have no homes to go back to and thousands of civilians were still being displaced in the eastern Deir az-Zour province, where fighting is still raging.
The aid group said that the reconstruction effort would require massive investment and that funding would also be needed to bring children back to school.
The “children have suffered for years”, Khush said, warning that that they “must not be forgotten once the fighting subsides”.
“Many are plagued by nightmares from witnessing horrific violence and will need extensive psychological support,” Khush added.
Raqqa suffered major destruction since early June when the offensive against the militants there began.
IS captured the city in 2014 and it soon become synonymous with the jihadist group’s worst abuses.
The SDF on Monday retook an infamous roundabout where IS used to carry out public beheadings and crucifixions.