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.
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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More