Rojava administration appeals for help to tackle COVID-19 crisis

A medical team checks civilians for symptoms of COVID-19 before allowing them to enter the northern Syrian city of Manbij. Photo: Manbij Civil Administration.

The people of North and East Syria — the region commonly known as Rojava — are facing increased risk of contracting COVID-19, due to its rapid spread in neighbouring countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Iran.

Internally displaced persons and refugee camps are especially susceptible to the disease and the instability caused by the recent Turkish invasion has aggravated the humanitarian situation.

The Health Commission of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) has imposed a curfew, banned gatherings, and closed schools and universities to protect the people.

However, despite these measures, the region is still under serious threat as it lacks basic equipment and medication to treat the infected, including ventilators and devices for the containment of the disease.

In addition, it is in dire need of sterile materials and preventive equipment as well as laboratories.

The Health Commission issued an appeal on March 23 to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the European Union “and all international bodies and organisations concerned with health care affairs” to assist the region in securing medical supplies to “help limit and control this global pandemic and ensure the lowest possible human losses”.

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