Crises increase the tragedy of the displaced in northern Syria

“In these cold days and every night the cold gets worse and the nylon and plastic heaters start to emit colored smoke through the air, then my (asthma) gets worse, and I feel short of breath and have to use the inhaler often and through the evening, especially if I move in the streets of the camp where the atmosphere is saturated with smoke.” .

This is what Abu Abdullah began his speech to “” during our evening visit to him. His intermittent words he said as he coughed and held an asthma inhaler after popping it into his mouth several times to open the airways, his trouble appearing through the rattling heard by those around him, and he added Abu Abdullah, who has been displaced from the western countryside of Maarat for several years and lives in the airport camp near the border city of Dana.

“The high cost of firewood and straw, in addition to the high price of fuel of all kinds, forced the campers to look for an alternative, and they found what they wanted in what their children in the summer of cardboard, plastic and nylon, in addition, some bought imported European clothes (bale) to use for heating, and some of them used towels (towels) for the same purpose, and the type of heating can be recognized by the shape of the column of smoke rising from their heaters.

With the current cold wave hitting northern Syria, which is accompanied by the density of fog that spreads to all regions and continues through the night until late morning hours, during this period layers of colored smoke shadow the camp, which all those living in the tents or wandering between them suffers from shortness of breath, even The dense smoke enters the tents and causes more distress for people, especially young children and the elderly.

An ongoing tragedy

Abd al-Rahman al-Aboud, the head of a family of four children and a resident of al-Nour camp, south of Sarmada, said he was forced to go to medical centers as the weather getting colder because the high fuel prices forced to use alternative and cheap materials such as plastic and cardboard, which cause chest and respiratory diseases in children, forcing us to rush them to Hospitals and transport between laboratories and x-ray rooms. In many cases, the child needs a number of nebulization sessions, and this condition continues from the birth of the child until he is two years old.

Dr. Ahmed Ali Al-Ali, who works in the Atmeh camp hospital, explained to us that the use of these materials for heating increases the rate of upper and lower respiratory infections among children in the camps, where severe coughs require spraying sessions, and the number visitors to the hospital are increasing, and we are forced to receive numbers of patients that exceed the capacity of the hospital.

As for the advice they give to the patients’ families, says Dr. Ahmed that staying away from the cause that leads to the disease is usually the first advice, but unfortunately we cannot ask the parents of the affected child.

With respiratory diseases or asthma, they must stay away from the atmosphere of the camp. They are forced to stay in it because of the powerful conditions they live in. However, what we can say is that they leave small openings for ventilation, expose smoky blankets and clothes after the sun, and use medicines and serums on a regular basis.

other reasons

The pollution due to alternative heating methods is not the only one in the camp areas, but rather it extends to the stone quarries, which are spread in all mountain camp areas, especially in the Deir Hassan area, which is crowded with camps and surrounded by quarries from all sides, since the work in those quarries depends on the use of explosives to break up the rock before grinding it to get different types of sand.

This is what causes the rise and spread of white dust, until it became evident on the faces of the neighborhood. In this regard, Umm Hussein, who lives in Al-Ghab camp inside the Deir Hassan camp and from Jabal Shahshabo to it has been displaced. four years ago, says that she rinses the floor several times a day in vain, because the dust He returns to cover the floor and covers the cutlery, which obliges us to wash it before each use.

The lady also points out that there is other damage from the quarries, saying: “The force of the explosions emanating from the quarries and their proximity to the camps causes cracks in the walls of the blocks that surround the tents, and they may reach the point. of collapse, causing danger to human life, in addition to the fact that some of the stones scattered from the explosion fall down.” On the streets of the camp and increase the danger for children while they play, reminding them of the sounds of the bombing of the Assad regime and its Russian ally.

We asked Um Hussein why they didn’t file a complaint, and she replied that they filed complaints and received promises to address the problem, but they haven’t seen a response, as the dust continues to rise and the sounds of explosions rise. “

The density of dust arising from those quarries, together with the fog waves that sweep through the camping areas, obscures the view of the roads near the quarries, causing many traffic accidents, and the dust damages the lungs of the residents of the vicinity. tents and cause problems in the eyes.

Also near the quarries, and between the camps, there are stone sawmills that work day and night and make a loud noise that prevents their neighbors from sleeping or even feeling calm, with the widespread dust entering the tents without permission. The stone is on three sides, about their condition, and he told us that he, like the inhabitants of the camp, is deprived of sleep because of the sounds of the machines coming out of these sawmills, in addition to suffering from air pollution, especially when the wind is strong.


Open sewage drains also contribute to pollution, in addition to the unpleasant odors emanating from them, and are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and germ-carrying insects, which cause many skin diseases.

The nurse on duty at Al-Majd dispensary near the town of Killi Ahmed Mustafa Al-Saeed told us that they receive many patients in the evening who complain of shortness of breath and need nebulizers due to the high levels of pollution in the air during the cold period. , and that they recorded several cases of cholera, which recently spread. In camp areas, one of the main causes of which is drinking water contaminated with sewage, in addition to vegetables irrigated with sewage water. said that there is a need for awareness campaigns that include all camps and explain ways to protect against diseases.

For its part, the “Response Coordinators” team last month issued statistics on the camps for the displaced in northern Syria, through which it identified the most prominent problems facing the displaced, namely the unhealthy environment and pollution, especially in the random camps. numbers included the newly built housing units and the random camps, as the number of camps increased According to the statement of the “Response Coordinators”, the total number is 1633, in which one million and eight hundred thousand displaced persons reside.

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