“After the earthquake, we survived for nine days without any clean water. We were obliged to use the same soiled dishes, glasses, and milk bottles for the children, without washing them clean. This resulted in the emergence of various viruses with symptoms like stomach aches, vomiting and nausea. Fortunately, we were able to treat the affected individuals before the situation worsened.” says Fatima, a 37-year-old, school director of Al Takadum Al Arabi in Aleppo.
A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck northern Syria and southern Türkiye on February 6th, 2023, bringing widespread devastation, and impacting the lives of millions of people. In just a matter of seconds, countless lives were turned upside down. Buildings crumbled, leaving many without a place to call home. Tragically, thousands of lives were lost, and countless others were forced to flee their homes once again. Among the victims, there were hundreds of orphaned children, some trapped beneath the rubble in freezing temperatures for hours on end. The disaster caused a halt in essential services, leaving the population without much-needed support. Aleppo, one of Syria’s cities, bore the brunt of the disaster, experiencing significant damage to its infrastructure and severe disruptions to public services.
Thousands of internally displaced people found themselves seeking refuge in collective shelters, crowded together with many other families. These collective shelters were often schools or mosques.
Having safe clean water to drink, bathe, or cook is one of the most urgent needs for people living in Aleppo. Nevertheless, because of the severe damage, essential services in Aleppo faced significant limitations in delivering clean safe drinking water. Providing water to the population on a daily basis became challenging, with the fortunate few being able to access clean safe drinking water through other sources.
Medair, with the support from Tearfund and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) was able to support families urgently in need of clean water. In coordination with the water establishment in Aleppo, Medair was able to distribute clean safe water to the most needed areas in Aleppo.
The targeted locations were collective shelters situated in Aleppo City’s Al Fardous and Al Salheen areas. These shelters provided refuge to a significant portion of the population affected by the earthquake, who sought safety there. Medair also distributed safe clean water to households in the area, through direct distribution.
The school of Al Takadum Al Arabi, turned collective shelter in the aftermath of the earthquake, in Al Salheen, Aleppo hosts approximately 500 people that fled their homes seeking refuge. Khaled, Medairs staff, explains “The people living at the school of Al Takadum were having trouble accessing clean safe water. We’ve had to overcome some challenges ourselves to be able to deliver clean safe water at the school. For those who may not know, some of the streets of Aleppo are quite narrow and navigating them with massive water trucks was quite difficult. By switching to a more compact water truck, we are able to safely deliver clean safe water every day. One of the other challenges we were facing was that most collective shelters have their water tanks placed on the roof. For a water truck, the standard hose length is about 20 meters long. It wasn’t long enough. So, in this case, we required a much larger hose, about 70 meters long, to pump the water from the water truck all the way to the top of the roof into the water tank. It was challenging, but we managed to find one” he says with a determined look on his face.
Since then, the Medair’s team has gone every morning to distribute clean safe water to Al Takadum school. Sometimes depending on the need, the team needs to distribute twice a day. Through its water trucking project, Medair has been able to provide access to clean safe water, through the water to 2,976 people every day. “We go every morning to distribute water without taking days off. People need water every day, especially to avoid any potential outbreaks,” says Yehia, one of Medair’s staff.
“Prior to receiving clean safe water, after the earthquake, we survived for nine days without any water. We were obliged to use the same soiled dishes, glasses, and milk bottles as the children, without washing them clean. This resulted in the emergence of various viruses with symptoms like stomach aches, vomiting and nausea. Fortunately, we were able to treat the affected individuals before the situation worsened,” says Fatima, a 37-year-old, school director of Al Takadum Al Arabi in Aleppo.
Medair’s services in Syria is made possible by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) and Tearfund and generous private donors like you.
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.