UNHCR convoys in northeast Syria help tens of thousands displaced by ongoing Raqqa fighting
Humanitarian assistance dramatically stepped-up following newly-reopened land route.
A series of humanitarian convoys to Syria’s Al-Hassakeh governorate was successfully completed yesterday, as part of efforts to massively step-up humanitarian assistance to the area through a newly-reopened land route. A fifth convoy successfully reached Qamishli in Syria’s Al-Hassakeh governorate, bringing relief items to thousands of families fleeing the ongoing fighting in and around Raqqa.
The number of people displaced in and around Raqqa has now passed 190,000 since 1 April. Families fleeing the fighting are taking shelter in multiple locations, including Mabrouka camp (north-east of Raqqa city) which currently hosts approximately 1,200 displaced people, Ein Issa camp (some 45km north of Raqqa city), sheltering approximately 7,547 people, and other locations housing significant numbers of people.
“The opening of the Menbij route has helped us tremendously in responding to the urgent needs of the continuous displacement from Raqqa as the fighting there continues.” Said Roupen Alexandrian, Head of UNHCR Field Office in Hassakeh, “These people are traumatized and they are in desperate need of life-saving assistance.”
UNHCR’s first convoy of three trucks reached Qamishli on June 29. A second convoy arrived on July 4, a third reached its destination on 10th July. The fourth arrived to Qamishli on July 13, while today, the fifth convoy delivered its load of mattresses concluding this series of humanitarian convoys.
Families described the horrors they witnessed during their dangerous journey, as they fled for their lives leaving everything behind. The five convoys delivered vital assistance to respond to their most urgent needs – including 5,400 tents, 6,000 mattresses, 4,000 high-thermal blankets, 8,000 sleeping mats, 7,000 solar lamps, 5,000 water jerry-cans and 3,000 plastic sheets. Such life-saving supplies provide shelter from the immense heat.
The relief items delivered facilitated an efficient response by UNHCR in providing life-saving assistance to 4,500 recently displaced people taking shelter in the newly established Areesha settlement (30 km south of Hassakeh City), where we provided tents, mattresses and blankets.
UNHCR’s Representative in Syria, Sajjad Malik, recently visited Ein Issa camp, to witness the growing humanitarian response at first-hand and hear the chilling stories of recent arrivals, who described their lives in Raqqa and their perilous journeys to safety.
Regular deliveries along the newly opened route are planned from warehouses in Damascus, Homs and Aleppo, allowing UNHCR and other UN agencies and partners to reach a greater number of the estimated 430,000 people in need in Raqqa governorate.