Voice of America: Syrian people face lack of safe drinking water and food insecurity

DARAMSUQ — With the Syrian civil war entering its 10th year and the displacement of more than half of Syria’s population, millions of Syrians have been faced with a lack of safe water, which will lead to increased food insecurity, deterioration of livelihoods, and more e migration in search of resources, according to a report by Voice of America.

“The results of my work in Jordan may be used to assess water scarcity in other Middle Eastern countries, such as Syria,” says environmental researcher Stephen Gorelick, adding that drought regularly occurs in the region and in Syria, but is exacerbated by the current environmental crisis.

“Considering climate change, most regions of the Middle East are highly vulnerable to the effects of drought, which will become more frequent in parts of the region and will last longer and be more severe,” he proclaimed.

According to the United Nations, the repeated closure and reduced operational capacity of the Alouk water plant in North and East Syria has threatened the direct access of 500,000 people to water in and around Al-Hasakah city.

The current situation is radically different from that in 2011, when more than 90% of the population had access to safe water, according to a Senior Communications Adviser and spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa Rula Amin.

Amin indicated that the crisis is getting worse, expecting that it will lead to displacement and weaken people’s ability to continue their livelihood.

“We must invest in projects that would help mitigate the water crisis impact, and this does not happen in a month or three months,” she continued.

The current U.N. water crisis plan aims to ensure 3.4 million people have access to safe water by rehabilitating water plants and improving water treatment, according to its 9 September report.

The U.N. is working to address food insecurity, malnutrition and income loss, in addition to increasing access to basic health services.

In addition to UNHCR, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are working in Syria to meet the needs of civilians, according to Amin.