A large-scale operation is underway in Syria to secure safe water supplies for more than 10 million people — close to half the population, according to UNICEF.
The first four trucks, carrying 80 tons of sodium hypochlorite water chlorination supplies, crossed the Jordanian border into Syria on Feb. 3, heading for Homs, Aleppo, Hama and Idleb. Over the coming weeks, UNICEF will deliver 1,000 tons of chlorine to cities and communities across all 14 governorates in Syria.
The operation comes amid rising concern over the impact of the 23-month conflict on water pumping stations and other vital infrastructure — and the implications for children’s health in particular. Reports say that the quality and quantity of water supplies continues to deteriorate in different parts of the country and in some areas severely.
“This shipment is very timely, as supplies of chlorine in Syria have fallen dangerously low, making access to safe water challenging for many families,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF representative in Syria. “This puts the population — and children especially — at high risk of contracting diarrhea and other waterborne diseases.”
The chlorine delivery is being conducted in coordination with the technical department of the Ministry of Water Resources and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
As part of its humanitarian response in Syria in the areas of water, hygiene and sanitation, UNICEF is supporting the operation and maintenance of water systems through providing equipment and chlorination supplies. UNICEF also will work with partners to increase access to sanitation facilities for half a million people and provide hygiene items and hygiene education to 750,000 people.
UNICEF needs $22.5 million to deliver life-saving assistance in Syria in the area of water and sanitation from January to June 2013. Only $4.8 million has been received so far.