Hasakah’s water crisis may be deadly amid coronavirus outbreak in northeast Syria

HASAKAH, Syria (North Press) – Despite a partial lockdown imposed by the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES), no precautionary measures are taken implemented by those collecting water in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakah.

The Crisis Management Team in Jazira Region announced a total lockdown for 14 days starting on August 6, then extended the curfew for another seven days, which ends on August 27.

Dozens of people of the Khashman neighborhood in the northern countryside of Hasakah queue near a water tank to fill various sized jugs with water, right next to a house where a man recently died of coronavirus, without any commitment to physical distancing measures.

Youssef Hami, a resident of the neighborhood, said that thirst is more difficult than coronavirus.

The Health Directorate in Hasakah stressed that according to the numbers it has registered, Hasakah’s water crisis caused an increase in infection cases of coronavirus.

Ramanda Issa, medical affairs official in the Health Directorate of Hasakah, said that infections have increased dramatically in Hasakah after the city’s water was cut off.

Statistics presented to North Press by the Health Directorate indicate that Hasakah recorded eight cases of coronavirus infections when Turkey cut off its water on two weeks ago, but now that number has reached 94.

Although AANES has imposed a lockdown, Hasakah is witnessing violations of the measure, most of which are due to residents’ efforts to secure water. Many in the city are more concerned with securing water than with coronavirus.

The medical affairs official in Hasakah’s Health Directorate expects an outbreak of the virus in the coming days after recording 10 deaths out of 25 registered cases in northeastern Syria’s autonomous regions.

Turkish forces have been cutting off water to the city and its countryside for more than two weeks, depriving hundreds of thousands of people of water.

Experts and doctors agree that bathing and washing hands are among the best ways to prevent coronavirus, but the lack of water in the city keeps most of its residents from adhering to these precautionary measures.

(Reporting by Hosheng Hasan, additional reporting by Mohammed Khier Ahmed)