Amman – September 30, 2021 – A 20-day-old baby and a 17-year-old pregnant girl are among the latest victims of COVID-19 in northern Syria as the number of people catching the virus continues to rise sharply, said today Save the Children.
The organization called on the international community – especially countries that have already benefited from a decent vaccination deployment – to urgently support and fund the authorities and NGOs concerned in the fight against the pandemic and to help children. affected.
Earlier this month, Save the Children warned of a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in northwestern Syria, especially the Delta variant, with only a dozen beds remaining in care units. intensive (ICU).
From August to September, the confirmed number of coronavirus cases in northwestern Syria jumped 144% to 71,715 as of September 28 with 1,151 deaths[i].
In northeastern Syria, including the Roj, Al Hol, Washukani and Areesha camps, there have been 27,296 cases of coronavirus and 908 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Confirmed cases of coronavirus have increased dramatically in recent months, including more than 26% from August to September[ii].
Sonia Khush, Director of Save the Children’s Syria Response, said:
“* One death from coronavirus is one death too many, but hearing that a baby and 17-year-old have also been claimed is devastating. This virus has been with us for almost two years now, and we know it just doesn’t go away. Without an urgent injection of funds, cases will continue to rise and thousands of children living in some of the world’s most difficult conditions will not even be able to access some of the basic relief that our services provide to them. provide. The world must not look away. ‘*
In addition to Idlib’s 20-day-old baby and 17-year-old daughter, a teacher working at a mobile center supported by Save the Children with partner organization ATAA in northwestern Syria died of COVID-19 this week last.
The teacher’s colleague, Ammar *, said his colleague used to treat his students as if they were his own children and that he was highly regarded by parents of students.
“He told me he was extremely tired and suspected he had coronavirus, so he was tested immediately. He did not receive adequate care in a public hospital and was therefore transferred to a private hospital, but only at the last minute because he could not afford it. His situation quickly deteriorated after arriving at the hospital and he later died.
In addition to a public health emergency, the lockdowns prevent life-saving aid and services from reaching people living in some of the world’s worst conditions, Save the Children said.
Save the Children continues to provide life-saving services such as food vouchers and child protection in Roj, Al Hol, Washukani and Areesha camps in northeastern Syria, but many of its other services include in particular temporary learning spaces, child-friendly spaces and mother-baby zones, were suspended, affecting around 8,615 children.
Schools have been suspended in northwestern Syria since September 25, forcing 12,278 children enrolled in education institutions supported by Save the Children to return to distance learning[iii] and tackle limited access to the Internet and electricity.
The region is also experiencing a severe shortage of PCR testing capacity, intensive care services and other health services, including personal protective equipment (PPE).
Bassam *, supervisor of the community health center in Violet, the partner organization of Save the Children, said:
“Today, when we pass the isolation centers and hospitals in Idlib, we see overcrowded queues outside. Currently, we are at the peak of the spread of the epidemic in Idlib. And there is hardly any room left in hospitals or isolation centers – hospitals are almost 99% full.
The rate of spread of the virus in the camps is very dangerous because the camps are so overcrowded. “
Save the Children calls for increased funding to support the creation of treatment centers and clinics with more intensive care beds and oxygen ventilators to treat the most critical cases. There is also an urgent need for increased funding to support students following distance learning and to ensure that they receive the necessary equipment and learning materials, the organization said.
* Names changed for confidentiality reasons.
Notes to Editors
Save the Children also provides services including case management and personal protection assistance for urgent cases, one-on-one infant and young child feeding support for nursing mothers as well as rehabilitation / construction work if needed and is organizing coronavirus awareness sessions in northeastern Syria. . In addition, the interim care centers are still functioning and our teams are preparing mitigation measures in case the blockages are prolonged and the learning should revert to distance learning modalities.
[i] World Health Organization data
[ii] Data from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria
[iii] Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools were closed from March 2020 to September 2020. Students returned for another year and the new term began on September 18, 2021. A few days later, schools were again closed.
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