Halt in Water Supply from Northern Syrian Plant Raises Virus Fears

A water plant in the Kurdish region of northern Syria has stopped supplying drinking water to nearly half a million people in the region, raising concerns about sanitation and hygiene during the coronavirus epidemic, reports Deutsche Welle, a German media outlet.

The Alouk water station is under the control of Turkish militias, which have cut water production intermittently following an invasion into the region last October.

Misty Buswell, regional director of the International Rescue Committee, told Deutsche Welle that “the latest water stoppage could not have come at a worse time.”

Buswell expressed particular concern for those in refugee camps in the Kurdish region. Some 67,000 people are cooped up the camp at Al-Hol alone, one of those hit by the shutdown, in already catastrophic hygiene conditions.

With the water supply cut, people cannot take even the most basic health precautions such as washing their hands. “If COVID-19 reaches the camps, the disease will spread like wildfire,” Buswell warned.

Tanker trucks are being used as a stop-gap measure.

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