Al Houleh has been under siege since 2012 and the scene of heavy fighting for months. People are in a desperate situation in this and other besieged areas trying to survive on very little.
Fatma displaced from Horbnafseh with her children said: “We came here because of the shelling. We walked in the winter rain. We need bread and food.”
With the recent lull in fighting, humanitarian organizations are seizing the moment to access the area. A joint convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the United Nations reached several villages in the region of Al Houleh, north of Homs yesterday (22 March), to deliver food, medicine and water supply equipment for more than 70,000 people.
The 27-truck convoy carried food, equipment to repair the water supply and medical aid to support the overstretched medical facility operated by SARC in the village of Kafr Laha.
ICRC's head of office in Homs, Majda Flihi, who led the ICRC team into Al Houleh stated: “The humanitarian assistance has been delivered and we are working on assessing the humanitarian needs and the situation in the ground. We spoke with civilians. We spoke with the community. We heard a lot about their suffering, about their struggle to cover their needs.”
An ICRC team of water engineers also worked on trying to improve the state of boreholes which provide the only steady supply of clean water. A second convoy, planned for the coming days, will bring generators and technical equipment to ensure the water supply.
Last week, another joint convoy from the ICRC, SARC and UN delivered food and hygiene items to more than 60,000 people living in the besieged areas of Madaya, Zabadani, Foua and Kifraya.
Captions embedded in photo "file information".
Please credit Pawel Krzysiek/ICRC
Location: Al Houleh, Syria
Format: H264-Mov (1920x1080p50)
Filming: ICRC delegate Pawel Krzysiek
ICRC ref: AV458N
Copyright: ICRC access all
0:00 Humanitarian convoy
1:02 SOUNDBITE Fatma displaced from Kafr Batna (in Arabic)
“We were living in Hur-benafseh (rural Hamah area), then we came here because of the shelling. We need bread, food items.”
1:13 (Where did you live before?)
“We were living in Hur-benafseh , then we came here because of the shelling, we came walking in the winter under the rain until we arrived to Al Houleh.”
1:26 SOUNDBITE Majda Flihi, ICRC head of office in Homs (in English):
We are currently in Kafr Laha in a village in northern rural Homs in an area called Al Houleh. We arrived here as you can see its dark time and we've been here for a few hours. We brought joint UN, ICRC and SARC assistance with 27 trucks. Until now the team is still working on offloading. The humanitarian assistance has been delivered and we are working on assessing the humanitarian needs and the situation in the ground. We spoke with civilians. We spoke with the community. We heard a lot from them about their suffering about the lack of basic needs, about their struggle to cover their needs.”