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Top UN official reports on Syria's dire economic situation

Acting UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ramesh Rajasingham has informed the Security Council on the dire economic situation in Syria, exacerbated by water shortages and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated Jun 24, 2021 07:45 AM

Top UN official reports on Syria's dire economic situation

Daily life in Syria is becoming less and less affordable, he told the Council in a briefing on Wednesday.

Across Syria, prices remain at record high levels, and goods and services are becoming scarcer, he said.

The UN Population Fund has observed in recent months an increase in child and early marriage in Northwest Syria.

Desperate living conditions have led many families to marry off their daughters at a very young age and the vulnerabilities of children, especially girls, grow exponentially under such difficult conditions, he said.

In May, a nationwide survey found that a growing percentage of the population faces challenges in accessing basic health services.

Syria is facing critical water shortages, especially in the northeast, said Rajasingham.

The water deficit in the Euphrates basin is the worst in memory, he said adding that the Tishreen and Tabqa dams will stop generating electricity if the water levels become any lower, with far-reaching impacts.

Nearly 5.5 million people face reduced access to drinking water. Three million people, as well as hospitals and other vital infrastructure, may lose access to electricity.

The potential long-term consequences are severe, he said, urging all parties concerned to find a solution.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 transmission rates are high, with the actual spread likely exceeding official records.

An already weak health system is overstretched. Shortages of materials and trained personnel continue to be reported, he said.

Vaccinations are underway across Syria.

Till date, more than 97,000 people have received their first dose in government-controlled areas and the northeast.

But the first COVAX delivery is only sufficient for about 0.5 per cent of Syria's people. The total delivery from the facility is expected to cover only 20 per cent of the entire population, he warned.

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