News / Middle East

UN Official: Will Take Decades to Rebuild Syria

People search for survivors in the rubble of a damaged area that activists said was a result of an airstrike by the Syrian regime, in the Al-Sukkari neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, April 7, 2013.People search for survivors in the rubble of a damaged area that activists said was a result of an airstrike by the Syrian regime, in the Al-Sukkari neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, April 7, 2013.
People search for survivors in the rubble of a damaged area that activists said was a result of an airstrike by the Syrian regime, in the Al-Sukkari neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, April 7, 2013.
People search for survivors in the rubble of a damaged area that activists said was a result of an airstrike by the Syrian regime, in the Al-Sukkari neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, April 7, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations' head of humanitarian operations is warning it could take decades to rebuild Syria’s decimated infrastructure.

John Ging recently returned from Syria, where he said he found appalling suffering and “phenomenal” devastation.

He said among the worst hit cities are Aleppo in the north, a former commercial hub of the country that is now in parts a ghost town, and Deraa in the far south, where the crisis began more than two years ago when a group of teenagers scrawled anti-government graffiti on their school.

In Aleppo, Ging said the city is divided between government- and opposition-controlled areas. In regime areas, he said, there is only an hour or two of electricity daily, there is significant damage to infrastructure, but shops are open and reasonably well supplied. He said this is in stark contrast to the situation in opposition-controlled areas of the city.

“We were shocked by what we saw immediately. The streets are strewn with rubbish - it’s a public health disaster in the making,” Ging said. “They have no electricity at all. The phone network - both landline and mobile - totally cut off. Very little traffic moving around because there is almost no fuel. Also, we were told that people had water once every five days. The shops are almost empty, depleted,” said Ging.

He said the scale of the devastation caused by heavy weapons to infrastructure, schools, hospitals and homes is “quite incredible” and will take decades to rebuild. “This country is being taken back in time decades, decades. This should mobilize a realization that it has to stop now, rather than allowing it to just continue on in the direction it is going.”

Ging said the United Nations has reached an impasse with the Syrian government on access for its aid workers to cross international borders into areas held by opposition fighters, such as checkpoints between Turkey and northern Syria. He said the government will not allow them to cross these borderlines and it is inhibiting their ability to reach many of the nearly 7 million Syrians who are in dire need across the country. He urged the U.N. Security Council to direct the government to give them unfettered access by whatever secure routes are available.

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Comment Sorting
by: Rodney
April 21, 2013 12:53 AM
1. How come the Syrian President cannot be declared a War Criminal along with members of his military command.
2. Then to be indicted to the Hague along with those military officers, when this violence is brought to an end. Is the United Nations thinking seriously?

April 20, 2013 6:10 AM
Who is responsible for this destruction? I have mentioned in my previous comments that USA aid is going to AL QAIDA but that time no body gave any serious thought but now this is confirm that AL QAIDA is an important role in this destruction. Now who will take responsibility to minimise pain and suffering. This is same mistake as to search WPMD in iraq and then destroy all the structre of iraq in the name of search of weapons. Now they want to CHANGE REGIME at the cost of so many LIVES and unlimited pains for common peoples.When we TRUST ON GOD then we should have faith that one day will come when our tongue cannot speak a single word but ALL of our body parts will speak TRUTH what we have done in this world and then at that time NO SCAPE FROM TRUTH.
In Response

by: allsoulsrising from: canada
April 20, 2013 4:51 PM
Too bad this reporter didn t tell the whole truth, just a partial view of the reality of this civil war, there is hardly any food or water because the so called rebels are controlling the food supply so they make money and also have the food go to what ever secular part of the Muslim/Islamic community that they back. What about the refugee camps were all the rape, selling of young girls etc. etc. and the killing the muslims are doing to one another, this country will be still at civil war, long after assad is long gone. The Muslims don t have the were with it to build a peaceful country, all you have to do is look around at all the other so called Muslim controlled countries. And when Assad is gone the remaining Muslims will blame all this suffering and murder on the western countries.

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