Torrential rainfall in Syria displaced thousands of refugees in camps beginning on Wednesday, according to aid groups.
“On December 26, an unusually heavy rainfall caused severe flash flooding in northern Syria,” read a statement from the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), a France-based coalition of non-governmental organizations. “Hundreds of tents were washed away in Atme, Dana, Sarmada and Qah in the northern countryside of Idlib.”
The statement says over 250,000 refugees have been affected by the flooding caused by two days of rain, and many shelters, food and water stocks have been ruined. They expect a “sharp rise in waterborne diseases as sewage overflows.”
Temperatures dip to below zero Celsius at night, the report notes, creating a “perfect storm” that may kill children and elderly.
WATCH: Heavy floods submerge north Syrian refugee camps, creating ‘catastrophic conditions’
Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in the north of the country rely on handouts from humanitarian groups, for items such as food, blankets and heating fuel.
UOSSM urged the international community and aid agencies to release emergency funding to provide food and shelter to the displaced people.
Since 2011, Syria’s civil war has killed more than 360,000 people and caused more than half the country’s population to flee their homes.