The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, warned on Monday that the possibility of the Corona virus “may have a devastating effect on fragile populations throughout Syria.”
Mark Lowcock added, in a briefing to the United Nations Security Council via “a television circle,” that ten cases, including one HIV death, had been detected in Syria.
As of Monday evening, the virus infected more than 752,000 people in 199 countries and territories, of whom more than 36,000 had died, while more than 158,000 had recovered.
He continued: «The health services in Syria are very fragile. Only about half of the hospitals and primary health care centers were fully operational until the end of 2019. ”
“Therefore, efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the virus are hindered by the fragile health system, the high levels of population movements, the challenges to obtaining vital supplies, and the practical difficulties of implementing isolation and protection.”
And he added: “I repeat the call of the Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) to lift the sanctions that could undermine the ability of countries to respond to the epidemic, and I also repeat the call of the Secretary-General’s envoy, Ger Pederson, of the need for a complete and immediate cease-fire throughout Syria.”
“The epidemic has already constrained our ability to reach affected communities” in the country, which has been in war since 2011, he said.
He called for “facilitating the movement of humanitarian workers, supplies and medical evacuations.”
On the situation in northwestern Syria, Mark Lowcock said, “The humanitarian needs are still enormous, and our data shows clear evidence of deteriorating conditions since last December.”
He added that «an inter-agency mission of the United Nations headed to Idlib, on March 2 (March), and informed us that people are afraid, and the needs are wide and complex».
He continued: «The team saw hillsides full of tents, and the crowding forced some families to sleep alternately outside. The team was shocked by the large number of children among the displaced. Community members have told them that child marriage, child labor, child recruitment and domestic violence are constantly increasing.
He stressed that “humanitarian operations across the Turkish border into northwestern Syria have become a lifeline for millions of people, who cannot be reached.”
He explained that «in January and February more than 2150 trucks carrying aid crossed from Turkey to northwestern Syria, which is more than twice the number that crossed during the same period of 2019».
Mark Lowcock predicted that “about 1,500 trucks will cross this March, a new monthly record since the start of the UN cross-border operations in 2014.”