Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Besieged Aleppo residents open ancient wells to survive

(ICN) - Churches and mosques have reopened ancient wells in Aleppo - Syria's largest city, in order to provide water for people in the summer heat. The city of Aleppo has been without water for two days this week. Rebel militias who control the pumping stations surrounding the city in northern Syria have been repeatedly cutting off water supplies from the community - in spite of appeals and mediation from the Red Cross and Red Crescent. In the extremely warm weather the water shortage is yet another collective punishment for a community already suffering from the shortages and dangers of the civil war.

The Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Boutros Marayati, told Fides: "In our churches and mosques, in order to meet the emergency we have reactivated ancient wells that provide access to groundwater faults. Families come to fetch water to wash and clean their clothes".

But, he said although people were drinking the water, it was unsuitable for drinking. This was increasing the risk of infections and epidemics.

Recently Archbishop Marayati went with the Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo to visit the Armenian district of al-Maidan, which has been subjected for weeks to massive rocket fire by the rebels.

He said: "We found homes and schools destroyed and many people have sought refuge in churches, which are also being targeted." The Archbishop said everyone was caught up with simply surviving from day to day. "There is also the concern about the news of the capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul by Islamists. That such a large city could fall in that way, from one day to another, here it is seen as a worrying sign", he said.

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