Residents of the eastern Manbij camp in northern Syria live in constant fear of the outbreak of the new coronavirus inside the camp due to the absence of health services and lack of thermometer scanner devices. In addition to this, the camp is densely populated and camp administration offices have closed.
Inside the camp, there are about 3,000 people living in an area of only six hectares; most of them come from the towns of Maskanah and Deir Hafer in southern Manbij, according to Asma’ Rammo, official in the Social Affairs and Labor Committee in Manbij.
Ali al-Jassem, an internally displaced person from Deir Hafer, who lives in the eastern Manbij camp, said that the camp lacks the simplest health protection materials, and that “all bathrooms and toilets are shared by all the IDPs.”
He added that since the lockdown of the city, “The camp officials closed their offices, at a time that we are in urgent need of them, especially since we cannot leave the camp without coordinating with the administration.”
“If someone is infected, the entire camp will be destroyed,” al-Jassem said, demanding the Health Committee to provide health services and organize awareness sessions for children and families.
The infirmary in the eastern Manbij camp lacks medicines, according to IDPs, pointing to “the absence of the humanitarian organizations.”
Some IDPs stated to North-Press that despite the danger of coronavirus, camp residents do not always abide by the imposed lockdown.
In the same context, Salim al-Dayem, an IDP from Maskanah, noted the stifling living conditions of the camp’s residents, especially after visit suspension by local organizations.
“We suffer from scarcity of foodstuffs,” he said, calling for the provision of thermal scanning devices to detect coronavirus in the camp.
For his part, Muhammad al-Obeid, another IDP from Maskanah, said that the Civil Administration in Manbij is required to go to the camp and solve the problem of leaving the camp.
Regarding preventive measures for coronavirus, Asma’ Rammo said that they are about to sterilize the tents completely in the next few days, in addition to distributing medical supplies, in coordination with the Kurdish Red Crescent and the Health Committee in Manbij.
As for thermal scanning devices, Rammo said that the quantity is too small, but they will work hard to provide a device as quickly as possible."
On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the coronavirus epidemic poses a threat to "all humanity", announcing the launch of a global response plan to address the virus, which included a call for two billion dollars’ worth of aid.
However, on February 23rd, Guterres recommended the UN Security Council to open Tal Abyad border crossing on the Syrian-Turkish border to transport humanitarian aid to the residents of northeastern Syria, after the closure of al-Yarubiya crossing with Iraq by UN decision.
For its part, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria demanded that humanitarian aid be kept far from “political blackmail, whether in the hands of the Syrian government or Turkish regime.”