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Humanitarian NGOs warn of water shortage in Syria

DAMASCUS, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian Arab Red Crescent ( SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have warned of the water shortage in Syria.

In a joint statement Saturday, the two organizations said that the "lack of rain, low water levels, armed conflict and damaged water and sanitation infrastructure are causing a worsening drought in Syria with dire humanitarian consequences for millions. "

"We call on local and national authorities to cooperate with all aid agencies present in the country to not only meet current needs, but also develop a longer-term response to this deepening crisis," Abdul-Rahman Attar, the head of the SARC, said.

The statement pointed out that the national production of wheat is expected to be slip 53 percent lower than that of last year and that would cause the prices of foodstuffs to keep rising.

"Families fleeing violence can rapidly become a strain on the resources of the host communities, who themselves face frequent water cuts and shortages," the SARC said, noting that some of the displacement shelters are unsanitary, and contaminated water has triggered outbreaks of several diseases.

The SARC said it was working with its partners to provide clean water to millions of people across Syria, partly by carrying out emergency repairs and maintaining essential infrastructure.

"Syria is already facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and this summer millions of families are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain clean water," the statement said.

"We urge all parties to the conflict to ensure the provision of clean water for all Syrians at all times, and call on the international community to rapidly increase its support for the essential water and sanitation programs of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Syria," it added.

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