Al-Taloul village in Syria’s Idlib province has been swept away after its local dam, which had been damaged by Monday’s enormous earthquakes, suddenly fell away. Rising floodwaters overwhelmed homes and displaced the entire population within hours.
Residents of the village near Salqin have been forced to take shelter in a local olive grove after the Orontes River overwhelmed their homes following the earthquakes that struck southeast Turkiye and northern Syria in quick succession earlier this week.
For villages like Al-Taloul, this means that many people have been forced to sleep outside in freezing weather. Temperatures as low as minus 4 have recently been recorded in parts of northeastern Syria. Thousands of people have spent the night in their automobiles or huddled around fires as a result of the winter freeze.
Residents of other villages along the Orontes River have evacuated to higher ground in Jisr Al-Shughour and Darkush, fearing the same destiny as the people of Al-Taloul.
The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, has been dispatched to Al-Taloul to assist in the evacuation of individuals trapped in vehicles and houses, as well as the clearing of the local sewage network in order to drain the floodwaters.
More than a decade of civil conflict and aerial bombardment in Syria’s northwest had already damaged hospitals and caused energy and water shortages, leaving people completely unprepared for a natural calamity of this magnitude.
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