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February 14, 2023

As communities continue to be affected by the fallout of last week’s devastating earthquakes, ActionAid is concerned that reports of flooding from a burst dam in north-west Syria might increase the risk of fast-spreading waterborne diseases like cholera.  

Commenting on the situation Racha Nasreddine, Regional Director of ActionAid Arab Region, said: 

 “We are worried to see communities devastated by the earthquake facing fresh concerns of a cholera outbreak and other waterborne diseases. Without access to clean water and toilets, survivors will be left further vulnerable as floodwaters could overwhelm settlements in northwest Syria. 

“To make matters worse, the country has been facing a cholera outbreak since September, with nearly half of all suspected cases of the disease reported last month coming from the north-west of Syria. It’s likely that flooding will increase the risk even further.  

“Half of Syria depends on unsafe water sources, and we know from speaking to our partner on the ground that the delivery of clean and safe water into areas affected by the earthquake is a particular challenge. And given that over 1.7 million people displaced by the conflict live in these areas, the risk of fast-spreading waterborne diseases is particularly high. 

“ActionAid is working with its partner in the region to urgently respond to the flooding, ensuring that affected communities can continue to access clean and safe water to help stave off the spread of waterborne diseases and cholera.” 


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Notes to editor  

Spokespeople available:  

Racha Nasreddine is the Director for ActionAid in the Arab Region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia. Previously, she led the response to the Syrian crisis in 2015 in neighboring countries (Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt) and within the diaspora. She has local and international experience working across multiple sectors and countries in the Middle East and North Africa region on socioeconomic development, human rights, and cultural relations. Racha speaks Arabic and English- Currently in Jordan.  

Razmi Farook is the Regional Director for Asia and Humanitarian at ActionAid. Razmi has served in the humanitarian and development sector for 20 years, working extensively on the regional and country level in the areas of disaster management, resilience, climate change, the Syria crisis, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and on issues related to migrants, refugees, and women. Razmi speaks English – Currently in Arusha, Tanzania.  

Sabine Abi Aad is the Regional Communication and Campaigns Lead of ActionAid Arab Region. She has more than 20 years of experience in communication and, advocacy, project management. She is passionate about women and youth leadership, achieving social justice and gender equality. Sabine speaks Arabic and English- Based in Beirut, Lebanon.  

About ActionAid 
ActionAid is a global federation that works with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just and sustainable world in which everyone enjoys the right to a dignified life and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work for social justice and gender equality, and poverty eradication. 

Support Families impacted by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

People in the regions impacted by the earthquake already lived in very vulnerable situations, having fled their homes in war-torn Syria. The devastation caused by this tragic disaster will mean they have experienced one disaster on top of another, leaving them in a compounded humanitarian crisis. We are uniquely placed, through our women- and young people-led human rights-based approach, to make a distinct contribution in the response to this emergency, prioritizing highly vulnerable groups, including refugees, female-headed households, and people with disabilities. Take action with us today!