The villages of the Jabal al-Summaq area in north Idlib countryside can be divided between the villages on the plains and the mountainous villages. The humanitarian situation in the mountainous villages is generally worse than the situation in the villages on the plains. Kukku (Arabic: كوكو) is one of the mountainous villages. To shed more light on the humanitarian situation in Kukku, I conducted an interview with the mukhtar of the village on 14 June 2020.
Photo from Kukku, June 2020. All photos in this interview are from Kukku in June 2020.
Q: What is the number of inhabitants in Kukku currently? What is the number of original inhabitants and the number of IDPs and from which areas are the IDPs?
A: The number of inhabitants of the village is 2000 residents and 1000 IDPs from Jabal al-Zawiya and Hama countryside.
Q: How would you describe the humanitarian situation in general? Could you speak about the electricity situation, water, services and the living situation in detail?
A: The living situation is very bad because the area is poor and mountainous, relying on rainfed agriculture of olives, which makes the production little and not matching with the cost. The electricity has been cut off for 7 years and the most intense thing we are suffering from is the issue of water because there are no wells in the village, because the village is elevated and the groundwater is deep and the cost of its extraction is great. Currently the cost of one barrel to reach the family is more than 1000 Syrian pounds and the great majority of people are poor and have no income with the lack of work opportunities.
Q: In your role as mukhtar of the village how have you tried to help the people of the village and the IDPs?
A: The material situation was good in the beginning: we helped the IDPs. But with the passing of time the circumstances of the people have become bad like the rest of the areas, and we are suffering from the neglect of the NGOs towards us as we are villages and the NGOs look for densely populated areas, and now we are contacting some of the NGOs to help the people but we do not find mutual response from them in the desired sense.
Q: Are there any NGOs operating in the village currently?
A: The only NGO that operates is the GOAL NGO and the number of beneficiaries is very few.
Q: How can we help the people of Kukku in these difficult circumstances?
A: You can help through directing the NGOs to work in the village, whether those providing food support or support through concessional loans for small work projects that bring about income for the inhabitants of the village. And the most important support the village needs in this time is support for drinking water because the cost of one barrel is more than 1000 Syrian pounds, which constitutes a great burden on the inhabitants of the village and the support for water should be through digging a well or supporting the costs of transporting tankers or designating special tankers for the village transporting drinking water.