Children at risk due to water shortages in Damascus

The U.N. released a statement today

Children at risk due to water shortages in Damascus

Damascus, Syria | Image: Google Earth

Children are at risk of waterborne diseases in Syria's capital Damascus where 5.5 million people have had little or no running water for two weeks, according to the U.N. 

Speaking about the current situation UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said "There is a major concern about the risk of waterborne diseases among children."

The two main water sources for the capital - Wadi Barada and Ain-el-Fijah - are out of action because of "deliberate targeting", according to the UN. 

Jan Egeland, the humanitarian adviser to the U.N. said on Thursday that damage to the water facilities are very bad and major repairs would be needed.

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said these repairs would take at least four days, probably longer.

Although some neighborhoods can get up to two hours of water every three or four days, many people are buying water from unregulated vendors, despite there being no guarantee of quality and the water costing more than twice the regular price. 

Boulierac said that mainly children in Damascus are bearing the brunt of collecting water for their families.

"A UNICEF team that visited Damascus yesterday said that most children they met walk at least half an hour to the nearest mosque or public water point to collect water. It takes children up to two hours waiting in line to fetch water amid freezing temperatures."