Following Movement Clampdown, Palestinian Refugees in Syria’s Displacement Camps Appeal for Urgent Assistance

Following Movement Clampdown, Palestinian Refugees in Syria’s Displacement Camps Appeal for Urgent Assistance

A member of a relief group disinfects tents at a camp for displaced people north of Idlib, Syria, on March 21. Omar Haj Kadour/AFP Via Getty Images

Palestinian refugees sheltered in camps across the Syrian territories have appealed to the UN Relief Agency (UNRWA), Syrian authorities, and the international humanitarian institutions to provide them with much-needed food and non-food items.

A number of refugee families have called on authorities to allocate mobile stores in order to enable civilians to fetch much-needed food items after severe movement restrictions have been slapped in the war-ravaged country over fears of coronavirus outbreak.

Civilians said they have been forced to walk for several kilometers to purchase vital items after they Syrian government suspended public transportation from and to cities and towns.

Palestinian refugee camps set up in Syria have been gripped with an abject situation owing to the absence of humanitarian assistance, relief aids, proper infrastructure, and vital facilities. Frequent water and power outages have made the situation far worse.

Over recent days, AGPS has expressed deep concern over an unabated outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 in Syria’s displacement camps, at a time when the deadly virus continues to claim the lives of thousands of people across the globe.

Though the Syrian government reported only one case of coronavirus infection throughout the war-ravaged country, there are growing fears that a large outbreak in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria could be particularly catastrophic.

AGPS fears the coronavirus could spread quickly in overcrowded displacement camps, where neither hygiene kit nor medical equipment are accessible.

Though campaigns to help spread awareness among the camps’ residents have recently seen the day, limited access to running water, pharmacies and medical facilities mean displacement camps are more susceptible to the spread of the highly infectious virus.

Displacement camps set up in northern Syria are especially vulnerable as most hospitals and medical facilities have been bombed, rendering them out of order.

A few days earlier, health officials in war-battered Syria have announced the first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, as authorities in the country halted all public transportation in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Health Minister Nizar Yazji told a news conference in the capital Damascus on Sunday that “necessary measures” had been taken to ensure that the patient, a 20-year-old woman who had come from abroad, was quarantined for 14 days.

Earlier, the government shut down schools, parks, restaurants and various public institutions, and called off army conscription.

Syria's healthcare system, among other infrastructure, has been ravaged by nine years of war.

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