Responding to dam collapse in Syria, UN dispatches experts to help relief efforts

5 June 2002

Responding to Tuesday's deadly dam collapse in Syria, the United Nations has dispatched a team of experts to the country to help coordinate relief efforts.

The four-member Disaster Assessment Team is expected to arrive tomorrow in Syria, where the collapse of the Zeyzoun dam in the north of the country left three area villages flooded and reportedly killed 10 people.

In an update on the situation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that telephone lines in the affected area were all down, making it difficult to judge the extent of the damages and casualties.

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and OCHA chief, Kenzo Oshima, issued a statement in New York extending condolences to the Government and the people of Syria.

OCHA said it remained in close contact with the UN Resident Coordinator in Syria, who met today in Damascus with Syrian authorities to begin coordinating the emergency response.

Also participating were representatives of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which monitors the Israel-Syria sector.