Some five million people in northern and north-eastern Syria are affected by water shortages, the United Nations said yesterday.

“We have received reports that five million people are affected by the ongoing water crisis in north and north-east of Syria,” a spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters in New York.

“People across the northern parts of Syria have been unable to reliably access sufficient and safe water due to low water levels, disruptions to water systems, and the already reduced operational capacity of water stations,” he said.

“Lack of safe drinking water is leading to an increased prevalence of waterborne diseases and is reducing a critical first line of defence to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of electricity also adds to the strain on public health, education systems and is disproportionately impacting the general and reproductive health of women and girls,” he added.

He pointed out that the United Nations along with its partners have launched a plan to target 3.4 million of those impacted over the next six months.

The UN official said the requirements identified the necessity of a multi-sector response of $251 million, noting that only $51 million had been received.

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