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Severe winter weather hits north-west Syria - Flash Update #3 (as of 25 January 2022)

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At least 227 displacement sites have been impacted across north-west Syria since 18 January as severe winter weather continues to compound existing humanitarian needs. The bad weather is expected to continue.

The Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster reported that across Idleb and Aleppo governorates there has been heavy snowfall in 157 sites, mainly in Afrin, Azaz and Harim districts. Heavy rain caused flooding in 66 sites, particularly in Harim and Idleb districts. Strong winds affected four sites in Azaz and Maaret Tamsrin districts in Aleppo and Idleb.

So far, 545 tents have been reported destroyed and 9,125 tents damaged by snowfall, floods and winds, along with belongings of displaced people.

All major public roads in the affected locations in Idleb and Aleppo governorates are open, including the Raju – Afrin road. Keeping the roads open for uninterrupted access to displacement sites is critical. Relocation of affected households to safer locations, provision of heating materials and food items and replacing damaged tents are urgently needed.

Humanitarian response

Humanitarian partners are responding to the shelter and non-food items (NFI) needs of the vulnerable people in the affected areas. The priority is the disbursement of cash assistance to the affected people for heating stoves and fuel. Markets remain open and winter items are available for purchase. Humanitarian partners are targeting 10,000 households with a range of shelter and NFI support. Out of these households, 5,000 are being supported with winter cash assistance amounting to US$150 per household.

Humanitarian partners have already distributed 850 one-off emergency food baskets, reaching 3,455 persons in Ma’btali and Daret Azza and 1,215 persons in Atareb. In the coming days, humanitarian partners will provide 67,000 more people affected by the snowfall with one-off food rations.

Two emergency road rehabilitation teams operating in Idleb and Aleppo governorates worked with local authorities to keep the roads open. They remain on standby for alerts triggered by winter weather. Partners are expecting flood incidents once the accumulated snow melts, resulting in further emergency road repair for which additional resources might be required.

Heavy snow also disrupted access to water in some locations, as water froze in containers and tanks, and septic tanks became clogged up. Some of the water networks were damaged from frozen pipes in Harim sub-district. The situation has also affected the distribution of water and sanitation supplies such as hygiene kits and water purifying tablets. Humanitarian partners cleared snow to improve access to public toilets and water points and are taking steps to repair water networks, exploring online hygiene promotion sessions and sharing information through online channels.

Heavy snowfall and physical access constraints also led to disruptions on the cross-border transshipment operations, with a number of consignments rescheduled. The UN Transshipment Hub near the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Syria-Turkey border is working every day to reschedule shipments and ensure the delivery of life-saving assistance to the communities across the region.

The one-week mid-term school holiday, that started on 20 January, was extended for an additional week in Idleb and Aleppo due to the severe weather conditions. The second school semester is expected to start on 5 February.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit