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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ethiopia - Syria

01 Jul 2021

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© OCHA Syria

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 1 July 2021

Ethiopia

OCHA says that the situation in Tigray remains volatile and unpredictable. Major towns, including Mekelle, Adigrat, Adwa, Axum and Shire, remain calm, but there are unconfirmed reports of clashes in the Southern and North-Western Zones. 

Electricity and telecommunications are still cut off throughout the region. There are no flights or road transportation in or out of the region.   

Despite this, humanitarian partners continue to operate, in line with humanitarian principles. For example, yesterday, the UN Migration Agency delivered fuel to operate water pumps, as well as firewood for cooking in a few displacement sites in the Mekelle area, benefiting several thousand people. Partners are continuing to bring water into Shire and displacement sites in Mekelle. An international NGO partner continues to provide medical services in Samre town, in the South-Eastern Zone.  

The UN, along with partners, is assessing access along main roads to several areas to resume aid delivery. OCHA says it is urgent to get additional staff and supplies into Tigray, to restore electricity and telecommunications, and ensure that cash and fuel are available throughout the region for the continuity of humanitarian operations. 

 

Syria

The UN is concerned about reports of another disruption of the water supply from Alouk water station to Al-Haskakeh, which shut down on 23 June. This is the 24th such disruption recorded by OCHA since November 2019. 

This latest disruption follows months of reduced functionality, for reasons including reduced access for technical teams, an electrical fire in April at the Derbasiyeh electricity substation, and reduced overall electricity available in the region.

Up to 1 million people in the region are impacted when Alouk ceases to operate, including 460,000 people who rely on Alouk as a direct water source, and an additional 500,000 people served by water trucking supplied by the station sources, including people in Al Hol and other IDP camps and settlements.

Other critical infrastructure, including at least 30 health facilities in Al-Hasakeh, rely on Alouk for water. 

As has been the case in the past, with this latest water supply cut, UN agencies and humanitarian partners are trucking in emergency water supplies and installing reverse osmosis pumps in Al-Hasakeh city, to address the most pressing needs, but significant gaps remain.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Syria, and with limited access to vaccines, access to adequate clean water and sanitation remains a vital first line of defence for communities to further stem transmission of the pandemic, and to also ward off other health risks, such as outbreaks of waterborne and water-related diseases.

The UN emphasizes that with no other current viable alternative to Alouk, it is imperative the station resumes water supply to the area. The UN urges parties to ensure the safe and rapid access of technical teams to Alouk and its related infrastructure. We call on all parties to find a sustainable solution to ensure the continued operation of the water station.