As armed conflict rages on, disastrous environmental consequences create unlivable conditions for those trapped inside Syria. Generally, the destruction of infrastructure, pollution of water supplies, poisoning of soils and fields, and halting of standard waste collection and disposal create mass public health crisis. In order to preserve the environment and secure the health of the community, it is essential to address the emergence of a vicious cycle linking armed conflict, environmental damage, public health disaster and poverty.
Throughout the prolonged conflict period, personal hygiene has been seriously affected. Some displaced persons, following more than 25 days without cleaning and washing, are forced to visit local residents’ houses in order to use their facilities. As for medical services, not enough can be said to describe the situation – services are completely absent inside hard-to-reach areas, medicines are unavailable and/or extremely expensive.
In all Jafra locations there exist chronic and contagious disease, with a large number of cases of jaundice, Hepatitis, lice and scabies, diabetes, cancer and other chronic conditions. Without proper care or medication, persons with contagious or chronic disease suffer greatly. Fear of epidemic and risk of spread of contagious disease are critical issues as untreated cases among the population grow and displaced persons continue to live in overcrowded and unhygienic circumstances.
Inside many hard-to-reach areas, due to unclean water resources and the rising cost of purchasing clean water, many are without potable water resources thus exposing them to water-borne disease such as typhoid and Hepatitis.
In view of these deteriorating conditions, Jafra Foundation continues to run its WASH programming, prioritizing the physical health and well-being of affected communities.
In four Jafra locations, waste management campaigns provide host and IDP communities with daily garbage pick-up, street cleaning, community space clean ups and dump maintenance.
Daily, Jafra volunteers walk the streets with wheelbarrows, collecting rubble and waste that has blocked streets. Trucks pick up waste at waste collection points for deposit in local dumps. 120 waste collection sites have been set up by Jafra volunteers in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
These services have provided more than 40,000 residents with a cleaner environment, decreasing the risk of spread of contagious disease.
Water trucking services take place in three Jafra locations, providing delivery to beneficiary households, to distribution points and community centers such as schools, mosques, medical centers and shelters. Aqua tabs are used to purify water prior to the delivery to households, community centers and distribution points. More than 4,000 households have been provided with household delivery, with 25 community centers receiving weekly refills of water tanks.
More than 22 distribution points have been set up across two hard-to-reach areas in order to supplement water delivery to households. Inside three locations, 13 wells have been rehabilitated, with additional water pumps supplied to operate wells inside these areas. Jafra hopes to expand rehabilitation activities in these areas.
In addition to water trucking delivery in these areas, Aqua tabs have been distributed to families to purify water they are retrieving from informal wells.
Jafra has also sought to coordinate with local relief committees to organize both testing and rehabilitation of water infrastructure, both to decrease the digging of informal wells and to manage the purification of water sources. These coordination activities have also facilitated Jafra in covering the needs of those most vulnerable beneficiaries inside hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
Families living inside the crisis are unable, due to loss of income generating activities and resources, to provide themselves with proper and basic hygiene materials. In its response, Jafra has been able to offer more than 25,000 hygiene kits to displaced and host communities living in and around Jafra locations inside Syria.
Hygiene kits provide items for regular and daily use for families in Jafra locations.
Examples of items include:
Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Female sanitary napkins
Household cleaning items (mops, towels, etc.)
These kits provide families with a one-month supply of hygiene items to secure their health and physical well-being. Often, in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, these products make the different between sickness and health, preventing the spread of contagious disease amongst the population.
Coupled with hygiene kits, Jafra volunteers disseminate hygiene information on proper hand-washing and the like during hygiene awareness sessions with beneficiaries, and through flyer distribution activities at shelters, medical centers and Child Friendly Spaces.