Families hiding in basements from escalating violence

Eastern Ghouta, Syria

Amer Almohibany
Two children sitting atop rubble in a basement
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
23 February 2018

Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria

Malak, 5, and Ghadir, 6, live with their families in the basement of a building in Harasta for the past 24 days after violent attacks escalated in the area. Ghadir and Malak spend most of their day in the basement. Schools in East Ghouta were closed because of the attacks.

Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.

Boy sitting in basement with his father
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Bahaa, 8, sits next to his father in a basement shelter as he boils water for drinking. Families have been hiding in basements since the escalation of violence. Families have little access to safe drinking water in these basements and have to resort to boiling water to make is safe for drinking. Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.
Father holds baby in basement
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria Talal, 20 hours old at the time of the photograph. Talal’s mother had to be rushed to hospital in Harasta to deliver the baby before returning to the basement’s cold and humid conditions. Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.
Boy takes shelter in a building
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria Waleed, 14, at the entrance of the building where he and his family are taking shelter from the escalating violence in East Ghouta. “We were in the basement when the building next to ours was attacked,” says Waleed, “everybody was screaming and crying when the explosion rocked the building.” Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.
Child walking in front of destroyed building
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria A child walks in front of a destroyed building in Harasta, East Ghouta. The escalating violence has forced families to seek shelters in basements ill equipped for living, spending their days in dark, cold and humid conditions. Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.
Man riding bike next to destroyed buildings
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria A man drives his bicycle next to the destroyed buildings in Harasta, East Ghouta. The escalating violence has forced families to seek shelters in basements ill equipped for living, spending their days in dark, cold and humid conditions. Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.
Man walking in front of destroyed buildings
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria A man walks in front of destroyed buildings in Harasta, East Ghouta. The escalating violence has forced families to seek shelters in basements ill equipped for living, spending their days in dark, cold and humid conditions. Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.
Two children sit in entrance to basement
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria Batoul, 12, and Sham, 6, sit at the entrance of the basement where they are now living since the violence in East Ghouta escalated. “I am afraid to go out. I’m afraid of the sound of explosions,” says Batoul, “I wish I can go back home and see my friends.” Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.
Children in bed in a basement
UNICEF/2018/Almohibany
Harasta, East Ghouta, Syria Children lie in their beds in the basement where they are living in since the recent escalation of violence in East Ghouta. Families have sought shelter in dark, cold basements in East Ghouta in fear for their lives. Nearly 400,000 people remain trapped in the area which has been under siege since mid-2013. Half of them are estimated to be children.