Forty displaced families from Deir al-Zor suffer from poor health in basement in al-Bab, Aleppo
Aleppo - SMART
Forty families who were displaced from Deir al-Zor suffer in difficult humanitarian conditions in a basement in the city of al-Bab in Eastern Aleppo, Northern Syria. The families have been living in the basement for over a year without care and assistance from organizations and the local authorities.
The families say that chest diseases have begun to spread among the children, who suffer from the lack of fresh air and sunlight in the basement. The children also suffer from the lack of opportunities to study and play.
In recent years, tens of thousands of families have been forced to flee Deir al-Zor due to military operations against the Islamic State and Syrian government and Russian bombings on residential neighborhoods in the city before they seized it.
Some families were forced to live their lives underground, and their social life became limited to interactions between each other. The families visit each other in rooms of only 9 square meters, and form friendships with people that live very close to them.
One of the mothers in the basement, Umm Mohammed, reported that women do not come out of the basement except to buy necessary goods from the market. They spend their time cleaning rooms or visiting each other. Umm Mohammed said, “We hope to go back to our lives and homes.”
Another woman said, “We suffer because we live in a basement with no clean air and sun, and when if are late to clean it smells disgusting,” in reference to the high humidity in the basement.
The woman added, “All people have someone to visit outside. Personally, I do not have the energy to go out because our situation is difficult and nobody cares about us. How can I think about luxury, shopping and going to the park? We just think of our children and our daily lives, especially as winter approaches.”
When asking the families about their daily lives, they all agreed that they spend most of their time in the basement. They stated that each family lives in one room, where they all bathe, cook and sleep.
One of the children said, “I cannot play with my friends, we only play football and hide here in the basement.”
The families in the basement also suffer from poor health. Two of the children have asthma and others have chest diseases.
A doctor confirmed that one of the children’s asthma has become worse from living in the basement, and he needs to move out of it. The child’s mother said, “I cannot move out of here, where am I supposed to go? All rents are in dollars; all anyone cares about is dollars.”
Other families in the basement complained about the poor way they are treated in hospitals and private clinics because they are forcibly displaced people. The families said that the hospital refused to receive two of the women as they were giving birth because they arrived after midnight.
Tens of thousands of forcibly displaced families in Aleppo and Idlib continue to suffer. The families call for permanent solutions to their situation and hold the Syrian government and Russia responsible.