Heartbreak and Chaos in Aleppo
The on-again off-again evacuation of civilians in Aleppo is heartbreaking, when innocent lives can and must be saved, according to World Vision Australia Chief Advocate Tim Costello.
"This arbitrary and fickle chaos has trashed the humanitarian ideal," Mr Costello said. "For this to be happening when we can save these lives is the worst failure I’ve seen of the international global architecture in my time. This is simply atrocious."
World Vision is preparing to assist people displaced by the conflict in outlying areas throughout the Aleppo Governorate.
The humanitarian agency will reach an estimated 100,000 people fleeing violence, including those from Aleppo, with winter supplies, clean water and sanitation services, food and emergency supplies in the regions north and west of Aleppo.
World Vision is currently working in Tel Abiad, A’zaz, Jarabulus and Manbij Districts within the Aleppo Governorate:
• Providing clean water and sanitation services
• Supporting primary and mobile health clinics
• Operating women and young child centres
• Supporting the district’s women and children’s hospital with equipment and supplies
• Pre-positioning thousands of mattresses and blankets
Mr Costello said that with Aleppo again controlled by the government of Bashar al-Assad, key players in the conflict must now ensure safe passage for both civilians and former combatants in line with international humanitarian law. Despite the complexity of the situation, civilians are innocent and in desperate need of assistance. Mr Costello said reports of civilian deaths in Aleppo were enormously distressing.
World Vision is well positioned to adjust its operations depending on the needs of new arrivals. World Vision’s partnerships with Syrian NGOs for the past two years allows the agency to work in the hard to reach areas, with those most vulnerable.
Conny Lenneberg, World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe, said the children of Aleppo had been subjected to senseless acts of violence.
"Eastern Aleppo lies in almost complete ruin, yet the atrocities continued unabated while powerful world leaders watched on from the sidelines," she said.
"It’s now all of our responsibilities to translate outrage into action; to send a clear message to our political leaders that, at this decisive moment, history will judge us – and those with the power for change must simply step up to alter the course of this almost 6-year-long conflict and protect the children."
Chris Latif, World Vision’s response manager for northern Syria, said reports of women and children being killed in the final days of the battle for Aleppo signalled a terrifying and chilling new chapter in the long-running Syria srisis.
"Eastern Aleppo lies in ruins with the battle entering its final phase – yet this clearly doesn’t mean an end to the atrocities," she said. "In the short term, we need to get people out of the city safely where organisations like World Vision can provide support.
"Only world leaders hold the key to true long-term change, but even during this dark chapter of Aleppo’s history, they continue to watch from the sidelines as the atrocities continue."
Picture: Syria Relief
For interviews contact:
Leah Swann: 0421 857 591
Stuart Rintoul 0407 241 492
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