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Syria: civilians organize a cleaning campaign in Aleppo
June 06, 2013

Syria: civilians organize a cleaning campaign in Aleppo
In an attempt to help keep the Aleppo city center clean, and prevent the spread of diseases that are linked to rubbish, JRS Aleppo, in cooperation with other local NGOs took part in a clean-up campaign. (Jesuit Refugee Service)
"We swept up all the rubbish, even dead rats and cats from under cars and on the streets. Each NGO was responsible for providing gloves, grooms and other necessary equipment for the participating volunteers. It's just a start, we have to now plan how to carry this campaign to every area of the city."

(Aleppo) June 6, 2013 – Since the end of a harsh winter, and the onset of summer, humanitarian agencies have been issuing health warnings in relation to the collapse of infrastructure and municipal services in Syria. In Aleppo, as temperatures rise above 85 degrees F., reports of  preventable diseases are on the increase.

In a bid to reduce some of the causes of health risks a clean-up campaign was launched by a local Aleppian NGO called "Min Ajel 7alab" ("For Aleppo"). It soon spread to include most of the local NGOs working in the city center of Aleppo in a coordinated attempt to clean up certain areas of the city.

"The area where all the rubbish has been dumped in Aleppo stinks. Moreover, there is waste everywhere, including residential areas. Something had to be done," said Selma* a JRS volunteer.

In preparation for the campaign, many coordination meetings took place between the participating NGOs and with the municipality and Governor of Aleppo. The main objective was to clean the streets of Aleppo from garbage and other waste, followed by washing them down with water, and finally, fumigation.

Participants included volunteers from local NGOs, internally displaced people who live in the areas where the clean up was concentrated, and with assistance from municipality workers.

In order to distribute the work as efficiently as possible, areas targeted by the campaign were divided amongst different NGOs.

Jesuit Refugee Service Aleppo, in cooperation with the Scouts, was responsible Aziziyeh, Suleimaniyeh, New and Old Seryan, Sheikh Taha and Baghdad Station. Many of the people whom JRS supports live in these neighborhoods, as well as two school-shelters under JRS management. Seventy-five JRS volunteers took part in the clean up which started at 9 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m.   

"We swept up all the rubbish, even dead rats and cats from under cars and on the streets. Each NGO was responsible for providing gloves, grooms and other necessary equipment for the participating volunteers. It's just a start, we have to now plan how to carry this campaign to every area of the city."

An evaluation of the clean up took place afterwards, with a view to improve performance for similar campaigns in the future.

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*Name changed for security reasons       

by Nour Kabbach
JRS Aleppo Communications Officer


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