Thousands of children have been displaced as a result of the ongoing military conflict in the south of Syria, leaving them in treacherous conditions and in need of medical help.
The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Thursday (July 12) for the protection of health facilities and increased access to southern Syria, where the recent hostilities have left over 210 000 people displaced and in need of urgent health services. Up to 160 000 displaced Syrians currently seeking safety in Quneitra are inaccessible to health partners, raising concerns for their health.
“People in Daraa and Quneitra are waiting for the humanitarian community to reach them with urgently needed aid and we cannot let them down. Access must be granted,” said Dr Michel Thieren, WHO’s Regional Emergencies Director. “We call on all parties to open the door to people in southern Syria and allow the safe delivery of medicines and medical items they need, and to grant severely injured patients safe passage to hospitals outside the area that can save their lives.”
The majority of people displaced are exposed to soaring summer temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius and dusty desert winds, with limited access to clean drinking-water, sanitation services, and adequate health care. In the past week, at least 15 Syrians – 12 children, 2 women, and one elderly man – have died due to dehydration, and diseases transmitted through contaminated water.
Almost 75% of all public hospitals and health centres in Daraa and Quneitra are closed or only partially functioning, leaving injured people, including hundreds of innocent children, and pregnant women, in need of emergency obstetric services, with limited access to medical care.
Thousands of Syrians forced from their homes due to the recent fighting in Daraa are unable to get the help they desperately need, Oxfam said.