Migration

The rain has flooded camps for the displaced in northern Aleppo

Syria

Days of rain has flooded a river adjacent to one of northern Aleppo's unofficial displacement camps, set up to house residents who have fled battles elsewhere in the country.

Over the past several months, thousands of internally displaced people have arrived to the countryside in northern Aleppo as a result of fleeing battles elsewhere in the country. Aleppo’s northern countryside is relatively free of conflict, with territorial control split between the Syrian Government, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA).

Official camps have been established in the northern countryside, funded and supported by aid organisations such as the Qatari RaF Foundation and the Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation. However, the accommodation capacity of the official camps are extremely limited. Furthermore, the camps are limited in their ability to expand, in part because of the security provisions made to prevent any illegal infiltration of the camp.

As a consequence of official camps becoming full, unauthorised camps have been set up by displaced people in cooperation with locals. Despite local councils in the region employing some staff to manage the unofficial camps, there is still an absence of aid organisations and their valuable support. Hence, displaced people are largely left fending for themselves. The unofficial camps lack the basic provisions that are necessary for human life, such as drinking water and heating equipment for the winter.

As of November 2017, in the northern Aleppo countryside, 13 official camps housed 109,849 displaced people. A further 23 unofficial camps housed an additional 61,813 people.

One such unofficial camp has flooded as a result of the heavy spring rain that flooded a river running adjacent to the camp. Local residents warned the residents of the camp prior to the camp’s construction that the piece of land beside the river was dangerous. But as is consistent with other unofficial camps, the displaced residents wanted to site their camp as close as possible to official camps where relatives and friends live. Furthermore, placing unofficial camps close to authorised camps gives the displaced residents a better sense of security.