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.
x
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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?


by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid