To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will make an assessment of the accuracy of reports by the (a) International Committee of the Red Cross and (b) Syrian Arab Red Crescent that Hassekeh city is at risk of running out of water as a result of damage to the main water station during the recent escalation in military conflict; and what steps will his Department take to ensure adequate water supplies to that region.
We are aware of water shortages in Hassekeh. These have been caused by the damage to the Alouk/Al Haouk water station, which compounds an existing issue as water supplies in Hassekeh have been under enormous strain since before the crisis. This water station is critical and serves approximately 400,000 people in Hassekeh and camps in the area. The UN is currently assessing the damage and needs in the water station. We are actively engaging with partners on the ground to assess any impact on their ability to assist those in need. Whilst partners had prepared contingency planning and prepositioned supplies in advance of the recent crisis, we understand that some of our partners have now had to suspend operations to protect their staff. In spite of this, we are engaging with our partners to ensure humanitarian access is continuing to be delivered to those in need. The Secretary of State has been in contact with Sir Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, to identify gaps in the humanitarian response.
Last financial year we provided over £40 million in humanitarian assistance in Northeast Syria, and intend to continue our support at that level this financial year. This support is focussed on reaching those in most acute need, providing vital food, water, shelter and healthcare.