Denton-based charity Syria Relief have declared a Covid-19 emergency in Syria.
They’ve called for the international community to offer extra support to the war-torn country, with cases rising fast.
Syria Relief’s Head of Advocacy, Charles Lawley, called on those in the Syria conflict to use their resources to provide medical support instead of fighting. He said: “It is with great regret that we at Syria Relief have been forced to officially declare the COVID-19 situation in Syria an “emergency.” We are today calling on urgent support from international governments and donations from the general public to help fight the spiralling crisis. We are also calling on all actors within the Syrian conflict to direct resources away from fighting and towards providing medical support for the victims.
“The deliberate tactic used throughout this conflict to destroy hospitals and kill medical workers has left Syrians vulnerable to impacts of this pandemic. So for, during the conflict, over 40% of Syria’s healthcare facilities have been destroyed or damaged. Numerous Syria Relief hospitals and clinics have been targeted and we have had healthcare staff killed in recent months. This had led to a lack of medical infrastructure, particularly in the Northwest and Northeast. In South of Syria especially, it is believed that the real number of Coronavirus cases is exponentially larger than the official cases due to a lack of transparency and testing capacity.
“Our colleagues at WorldVision reported this week that the number of cases in war-torn Idlib and the rest of Northwest Syria, confirmed cases have increased by 1,300% in a month. We are hearing reports of some hospitals inside Syria closing their door to suspected COVID cases to protect other patients, people being unable to afford a COVID test and others fearing of the consequences of going to official healthcare facilities.
“Today, we are calling on the UK government and all governments to:
- Urgently increase the support, both financial and medical, to Syria
- • Pressure any allies they have within the conflict to prioritise fighting coronavirus over fighting enemies
- Pressure any allies they have within the conflict to ensure that civilian life and civilian infrastructure, such as medical facilities, are no longer treated as military targets
- Work towards brokering a long term ceasefire where the safety and dignity of the civilian population is the priority and humanitarian aid is free to flow where it is needed most and is not restricted by conflict lines.”
The charity are also asking people to write to their local MP’s to ask them to call on the government to provide more support to the people of Syria. A monetary donation can be made by visiting https://syriarelief.org.uk/appeals/covid-19-emergency/.