Aleppo: A true humanitarian tragedy

By: 
CARE
An abandoned child's doll found in the remains of a bomb-damaged home in eastern Aleppo

Dr Abdelsalam, director in Turkey for Syria Relief and Development  (one of CARE's Syrian partners), after talking to colleagues inside Aleppo, told us this on the evening of 14 December:

“The current situation has never been worse in Aleppo. Last night there was an attempt to evacuate 20 wounded based on the alleged truce agreement. After reaching the evacuation point, the Syrian government refused to let them out, claiming that they were not informed about this truce or ceasefire. Then they were informed another evacuation would occur at 9am this morning and instead of the evacuation, heavy bombing was renewed on Aleppo, breaking the truce.”

The attacks were severe and coming in many forms. About 10 cluster bombs hit the area and the injured are everywhere on the ground. The situation is truly horrendous.

“The bombing and attacks continue and after people were waiting for the evacuation – many left their homes waiting to leave ... and the injured in cars, waiting to leave – but unfortunately the attacks renewed and people faced more bombing as they waited for the evacuation and their only chance to feel safe. The truce was broken entirely.”

It's a true humanitarian tragedy where we can say we are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe with every meaning of these words. We don't know what else can be done at this point but the situation is dire.

CARE’s response

In the last few weeks CARE’s response has focused on the rural countryside of Aleppo governorate, targeting displaced Syrians from Aleppo city and elsewhere, as well as host communities. So far, CARE and our partners have helped 17,000 displaced Syrians (2,850 households) with assistance to prepare for the winter (including mattresses, sleeping mats, blankets, plastic sheeting), food baskets and hygiene kits. We will continue supporting communities in need - notably the evacuees from Aleppo - and are currently organising distributions for the coming days of 1,700 emergency kits (blankets, plastic sheets).

Since yesterday, between 6,000 and 7,000 people have been evacuated to Daret Ezza, Atareb and Sarmada - areas in western Aleppo countryside. The World Health Organization has identified 12 facilities where people could receive emergency supplies and assistance. Among these facilities are three primary health centres supported by CARE.

Our partners operating in these areas confirm that there is a need for shelter as the weather is very cold now. The evacuees will also need food, basic emergency supplies, and medicine. Civilians from Aleppo have been deprived of everything. They have suffered from atrocities and are traumatised. They will also need psycho-social support.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.