The Save the Children charity announced on Thursday that eight children under five years of age have died within days in a northeastern Syria camp hosting thousands of relatives of extremists. It also declared that the services of health and nutrition have deteriorated rapidly in the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, where the children died over a five-day period.
A statement reported: The spike in under-five mortality was recorded between 6-10 August and is more than three times higher than the mortality rate since the beginning of 2020; the Al-Hol camp constitutes the home to tens of thousands of people, including the relatives of ISIS members. It is governed by the autonomous Kurdish administration that occupies most of northeastern Syria and has reported 171 COVID-19 cases, including 8 deaths in areas under its control.
Medical assistance to Al-Hol has reduced since the UN Security Council in January scrapped a key border crossing used to transfer UN-funded medical assistance to camp residents. Save the Children Syria Response Director Sonia Khush said: We are seeing a collective failure at all levels to protect children. This is the result of ongoing failure of the UN Security Council to reopen the closest border-crossing, leading to unforgivable delays in services.
The charity reported that the deaths of the eight children in August were linked to heart failure, internal bleeding and severe malnutrition, all of which could be treated in operational field hospitals. It also added: border crossing restrictions had reduced capacity of operational health facilities in Al-Hol by 40 percent.
It’s noted that the crisis has been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic in the full camp and has created worries among aid groups of a health catastrophe. However, the United Nations on August 6 reported that three health workers in al-Hol had found positive for coronavirus.
Two days later, Save the Children declared that it recorded the first case among camp residents, alerting the disease would propagation amid reduced medical access. The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Imran Riza, expressed on Thursday alarm over the child deaths. He also reported that in a statement: It underscores the basic fact that no child should be forced to live under the challenging and potentially dangerous humanitarian conditions at Al Hol camp.