Monday Dec 5, 2022
Monday Dec 5, 2022

Acting UN humanitarian chief reports dire economic situation in Syria

2021 Jun 24, 11:28, UNITED NATIONS

Acting UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ramesh Rajasingham on Wednesday reported a dire economic situation in Syria, exacerbated by water shortages and COVID-19.

Daily life in Syria is becoming less and less affordable, he told the Security Council in a briefing.

The economic crisis has profound consequences for people throughout the country. Across Syria, they face eroded employment opportunities. Prices remain at record high levels, and goods and services are becoming scarcer, he said.

The UN Population Fund has observed in recent months an increase in child and early marriage in Northwest Syria. Desperate living conditions have led many families to marry off their daughters at a very young age. The vulnerabilities of children, especially girls, grow exponentially under such difficult conditions, he said.

In May, a nationwide survey found that a growing percentage of the population faces challenges in accessing basic health services. Access to health care remains most difficult in Northeast Syria, he said.

Syria is facing critical water shortages, especially in the Northeast. The water deficit in the Euphrates basin is the worst in memory. The Tishreen and Tabqa dams will stop generating electricity if the water levels become any lower, with far-reaching impacts, said Rajasingham.

Nearly 5.5 million people face reduced access to drinking water. Three million people, as well as hospitals and other vital infrastructure, may lose access to electricity. The potential long-term consequences are severe, he said, urging all parties concerned to find a solution.

COVID-19 transmission rates are high, with the actual spread likely exceeding official records. An already weak health system is overstretched. Shortages of materials and trained personnel continue to be reported, he said.

Vaccinations are under way across Syria. As of Sunday, more than 97,000 people have received their first dose in government-controlled areas and the Northeast. Some 26,000 people have received at least one dose in the Northwest. Current vaccinations are prioritizing front-line health care workers, he said.

But the first COVAX delivery is only sufficient for about 0.5 percent of Syria's people. The total delivery from the COVAX Facility is expected to cover only 20 percent of the entire population, he warned.

COVAX covid-19 vaccinations Syria UN Northwest Syria
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