ABU DHABI, 12th August, 2016 (WAM)–In any conflict it is the children who suffer the most. And the results are tragic and shocking, to say the least. In the city of Aleppo, two million people lacked access to clean running water, with children most at risk of disease.
Syria’s five-year-old conflict has created 2.4 million child refugees, killed many and led to the recruitment of children as fighters, some as young as seven, according to Unicef. In 2015 alone 400 children were killed.
“Access is badly needed to deliver food and medical supplies and for technicians to repair power networks to help operate water pumping stations, which were heavily damaged in attacks on civilian infrastructure last week,” said UAE English language local daily in its editorial on Friday.
It added that the tension in the city has cut the primary government supply corridor running into the city from the south.
“It is unfortunate that young children are especially vulnerable to diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases from a heatwave and drinking dirty water,” The Gulf Today said.
A Unicef official said in the eastern parts of Aleppo up to 300,000 people – over a third of them are children – are relying on water from wells which are potentially contaminated by faecal matter and unsafe to drink.
It is medical care that is hit the most in conflict zones. Aleppo’s sick and wounded lack access to health care. Eight out of 10 hospitals and 13 out of 28 primary health care centres are now partially functional or out of service as a result of attacks.
Even the hospitals in Iraq suffer from poor functional health. Many of them are poorly maintained and offer sub-standard healthcare, forcing a number of the affected to seek private treatment or travel abroad.
The paper said, “This probably accounts for a shocking incident in Iraq on Wednesday, where a fire in the maternity ward of one of the city’s main hospitals killed 12 premature babies, prompting Iraq’s health minister to announce her resignation.”
Only seven babies could be saved and were taken to another ward in the Iraqi capital.
A truck bomb blast in Baghdad last month killed over 300 people.
The situation in Aleppo is so dire that doctors in the rebel-held districts of Aleppo have, in a letter, pleaded with US President Barack Obama to take action to help the hapless civilians. One paediatrician who signed the letter said he was forced to watch children “die in our arms” because of dwindling medical supplies and repeated bombardment.
“Unless a permanent lifeline to Aleppo is opened it will be only a matter of time before hunger takes hold and hospitals’ supplies run completely dry. At the moment there is need for tears and sympathy and prayers, but more importantly action. Real concrete work,” the paper concluded.