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Syria gov't promises extra effort to secure water for thirsty Aleppo
The drinking water has started to return to the northern city of Aleppo after weeks of outage, said Syria's Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi.
With the return of electricity, water has come back to the city in acceptable capacity, to the pumps, al-Halqi said, according to the official SANA news agency.
"We are hoping we could secure more energy and larger quantities of water in the next hours through emergency measures and rationalization programs as well as the rehabilitation of 23 wells," the prime minister said.
He added that ten wells were being dug and 14 purification stations were prepared in coordination with international organizations like the UNICEF to secure drinking water to that thirsty city.
Last week, an official in the Electricity Department of Aleppo was cited by local media as saying that the exceptional circumstances and the recent "ferocious" attack by the armed militants on the city has negatively rebounded on the electricity that feeds vital sectors, like hospitals, and water pumps.
Local reports accused the rebels in the Slaiman al-Halabi district of preventing the operation of the water pumps.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based watchdog group, confirmed Saturday that water has started returning to Aleppo with the return of electricity to large areas in the city.
One of the commanders of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, who is in control of the Slaiman al-Halabi water station, agreed to turn on the pumps on conditions, it said.
The Observatory said the people of Aleppo have suffered greatly due to the outage of water, adding that civilians in that battered city have started to use the garbage cans on streets as water storages and they would later take their needs of water by pots to their homes.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city and once an economic hub, has been torn between the rebels in the eastern parts and the government forces in its western districts.
The UN children's agency UNICEF warned last week that the dwindling supplies of safe drinking water during Syria's scorching summer months pose a threat to millions of Syrian children, who have become more exposed to water-borne diseases.
Since the beginning of the year, Syria has reported 105,886 cases of acute diarrhoea. There has also been a sharp increase of Hepatitis A cases with a record 1,700 cases reported in one week alone last February.
It said the intensification of conflict across the country has caused new waves of population displacement placing further strain on an already fragile water and sanitation network.
[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 18Jul15]
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