What's it like to work in Aleppo?
A day in the life of Unicef worker in Aleppo
Right now, Aleppo in Syria is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, especially for a child.
More than 100,000 children are trapped in eastern Aleppo. They’ve suffered bombardment and have struggled under siege since July 2016.
“It’s time for the world to stand up for the children of Aleppo and bring their living nightmare to an end.” said Geert Cappalaere, Unicef Regional Director.
Pressure on health facilities and workers
But health facilities in the city are beyond stretched. Only one third of the city’s health facilities function, due to damage and destruction. Doctors and health workers are working under extremely dangerous conditions, and many have been killed and injured. I have the deepest respect and admiration for every single doctor in Aleppo. Children and families depend on them. In August, I visited an injured doctor, a colleague from one of our partner organisations, in hospital. He had metal fragments lodged in his face, after his mobile clinic was hit. He looked at me and said, “No matter what, I do not want to leave my city”.
Every child in Aleppo has a story. I often think about Ahmad who is 11. Ahmad has cancer and stays in the hospital with his mother. The fighting has blocked the road back to his home.
Ahmad is no more than thin skin on tiny bones. When we visited, he was very curious about our camera, but was too weak to lift it in his shaking hands. When he dropped it, the look on his face was just heartbreaking. I gave him my mobile phone instead encouraging him that it was much higher tech. I love the photo he took of me and his proud smile when he gave the phone back.
To work in Aleppo is an act of love and belief. You do not stay in the one of the most dangerous cities in the world unless you love the place, the people, and the children. You don’t stay unless you truly believe in humanity and feel an obligation to make the world a better place. Maybe I’m a dreamer but I believe we can make a difference.
All photos: Unicef Syria/2016
We are on the ground in Syria delivering unprecedented levels of aid to Syria’s children. In western Aleppo, we are reaching 300,000 people with emergency water supplies and we aim to provide 2.5 million children in Syria and the surrounding countries with warm blankets, clothes and supplies for the coming winter.
Our priority is to reach the most vulnerable children, including the youngest and those living in besieged areas like Aleppo.