North and East Syria: The numbers of children at Avrîn Hospital in the town of Shahba suffering from intestinal inflammation have increased in recent days. Meanwhile hospitals and medical centres are facing shortages of medicines and medical supplies due to the Damascus government’s embargo on the town, ANHA reports.
After Turkey took control of Afrin in 2018, thousands of Afrinians became refugees and settled in the refugee camps in the towns of Shahba and Sherawa, not wanting to live under the rule of Turkey and its militias.
Paediatrician Y.C, who did not want to reveal his name fearing repurcussions from the Damascus goverrnment, said that every year children in the camps face disease due to the Damascus government’s embargoes, adding that international organisations are not fulfilling their responsibilities.
The paediatrician, at Avrîn Hospital in Shahba, said that children there suffered from three different intestinal inflammations throughout the year and that their conditions worsened in the winter, spring and summer months.
Intestinal inflammation causes stomach pains, loss of appetite, and diarrhoea in children due to excessive dehydration.
“This is closely connected to the poor conditions that the children live in”, says the doctor.
Y.C also said the causes of intestinal inflammation in children are viruses or bacteria seen in children under the age of 5, which are spread through contaminated drinking water and food.
“When weather conditions change in summer and winter, the virus spreads and infects children more. Over 100 sick children come to Avrîn Hospital every day, of which 30% suffer from intestinal inflammation,” he stated.
He also criticised the international institutions and particularly UNICEF for allowing the children to remain in these conditions. For the last 4 years, UNICEF had been supplying about 2,400 cubic meters of water a day to Shahba, but recently reduced this figure to 1,000 cubic meters. As a result, 80,000 people in dozens of villages and three major districts of Shehba have not had access to freshwater since last July.
Y.C warned, “The children’s health will get worse if the situation in Shahba refugee camp is not improved.”