Groups of volunteers were seen cleaning up the rubble in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in south Damascus on Friday, which has been severely damaged during the seven-year conflict in Syria.
Ongoing reconstruction works are supervised by the Syrian government. After the rubble is removed from the streets, authorities plan to start restoring electricity, water and other infrastructure.
"The scale of destruction in Yarmouk Camp is huge, we can't estimate it. It includes the infrastructure, buildings, and massive destruction," said one of the volunteers.
"We are working with the minimum resources the team has. We are working on the post-reconstruction period of Yarmouk Camp, [that includes] the restoration of life necessities of the camp, health centres and education," another volunteer said.
The Yarmouk camp was once home to some 160,000 residents, including both Palestinian refugees and Syrians, but became the scene of intense fighting as the conflict in Syria kicked off, reducing most of the area to rubble.
The area was overrun by so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants in 2015, who held the area until the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) retook the neighborhood in May 2018, defeating the last pocket of IS militants in the capital.
SOT, Baraa Bishr, volunteer at Yarmouk camp (Arabic): "Good morning, I am Baraa Bishr from the Yarmouk Voluntarily Team. This morning we started cleaning al-Nadi al-Arabi, ever since about two months ago, we started cleaning the Yarmouk Camp entrance, which is connected to al-Madares street, along with cleaning Loobeih street up until the end of Safad street. We had cleaned some of the main streets like Ghazal and Heifa streets. The scale of destruction in Yarmouk Camp is huge, we can't estimate it, [that includes] the infrastructure, buildings, and massive destruction. The widest destruction was in Morales, it was [huge] in terms of frustration, rumours, and the loss of hope of the people who had no hope to return. Nevertheless, our initiative started with youth, elders, and even children, all hand in hand to restore hope in peoples' hearts and children hearts. We are reconstructing here in order to shorten the time as much as possible until when we'll be able to work together again."
SOT, Aleen Zainab, volunteer at Yarmouk camp (Arabic): "Good morning, I am Aleen Zainab from the Yarmouk Voluntarily Team, the media committee of the Yarmouk Team. We are at the Arabic Clun in Palestine Camp. We are rehabilitating the infrastructures through cleaning up the camp. We started working since nearly two months. We are working with the minimum resources the team has. We are working on the post-reconstruction period of Yarmouk Camp, [that includes] the restoration of life necessities of the camp, health centres and education."
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