35 Children Die in al-Hol Camp for the Displaced

Residents of the camp, who fled fighting in Deir ez-Zor, are exposed to extreme weather and suffer from a lack of basic supplies writes Hurriya Press.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 35 Syrian children had died on their way to the al-Hol camp for displaced people in northeastern Syria.

A statement published by the organization on Monday said that newborn children were on their way to the camp, fleeing the military operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Hajin pocket in Deir ez-Zor province.

According to the report, the number of residents at the camp has tripled over the last two months, reaching 35,552—which is, higher than the capacity to absorb them. It said that they were suffering from severe cold and from terrible living conditions, with no tents or blankets for warmth.

The group’s report added that most refugees reaching the camp were in poor health and that from the beginning of December to the beginning of February at least 35 newborn children had died on the way to the camp or shortly after arriving. In most cases this was due to the low temperatures.

The report added that the distance from Hajin to the camp was about 300 km, and that temperatures are falling at night in eastern Syria to almost zero. It added that, once the internally displaced people were able to flee from the conflict areas—often at night, out of fear of falling victim to the fighting—they must, according to interviews, submit to safety checks on the way to the camp, and afterward they are placed into trucks with no roof and are transported to the camp with limited quantities of food, water, and protection from dangerous individuals.

The office said that because of the overcrowding in the camp, there were problems providing residents with primary services, especially as there are about 3,000 currently living in the reception area of the camp, who are due to undergo inspections.

OCHA is currently working to expand the camp to absorb 12,840 more people, with the expansion to finish at the end of this February, according to the report.

On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees called on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the United States, to allocate space on the road to the al-Hol camp in Hassakeh province, which can provide aid to the civilians who are fleeing to the camp.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization expressed their worries about the humanitarian situation in the al-Hol camp, and called for the acceleration of the issuance of approvals to deliver humanitarian aid to the camp.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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