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East Euphrates Refugees Fight Coronavirus With Personal Hygiene

East Euphrates Refugees Fight Coronavirus With Personal Hygiene

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020 - 10:45

Sumaya, a Syrian refugee mother at the Washukani IDP camp in Syria’s northeastern Al Hasakah city, waits daily on her four-year-old daughter to wake up so she could wash her hands and clean her up.

In order to protect her family against the new coronavirus, Sumaya is working hard to maintain personal hygiene at the camp they’ve been staying at for five months now.

“I have a six-year-old daughter as well, she is weak and in need of healthcare. After hearing about the coronavirus pandemic I’ve been preserving the cleanliness of my daughters to protect their newborn sister,” Sumaya said.

“My husband, three daughters, and I live in this space of no more than 30 meters. I am afraid of the virus spreading due to the absence of the necessary protection,” she added.

Samer, age 11, sometimes walks more than a kilometer to get clean water. He has to wait for his turn in a long que.

“I help my mother because she is keen to clean us, and we do not play much outside the camp so that we do not get infected,” Samer told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Samer’s mother, however, wondered how she would be able to keep up her family’s personal hygiene with the lack of soap and money to buy sterilizers and protective face masks.

It is noteworthy that Syria recorded nine cases of the coronavirus and one death with estimations suggesting that the numbers are much higher. But in areas run by the Kurdish self-administration east of the Euphrates, no cases have been recorded yet, according to the World Health Organization.

Washukani camp administrator Sateera Rishi said that the camp hosts around 10,000 refugees.

Rishi warned of a humanitarian catastrophe and the spread of diseases.

“We lack medical assistance to bridge the health gap that has widened with the increase in the number of displaced persons,” she said.

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