The town of al-Latamina is located in north Hama countryside. It was for a long time part of the frontlines between the Syrian government forces and the insurgents, but the former finally took control of the town in August 2019 during an offensive that recaptured northern Hama countryside and the town of Khan Sheikhoun in south Idlib province.
One year on, much work remains to be done for reconstruction of al-Latamina, the restoration of services and the return of the original inhabitants. The town council is in need of aid to accomplish these things. Below is an interview conducted on 12 August 2020 with the head of the al-Latamina town council affiliated with the Syrian government. The interview is slightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Q: What is the number of inhabitants in al-Latamina currently? What is the proportion of the original inhabitants who have returned to the town?
A: The number of inhabitants of the town of al-Latamina is 30,000. Currently there are 30 families in the town of al-Latamina. A portion of the people are present in the city of Hama and the neighbouring villages.
Q: How are the services like electricity and water in the town? For example is there any national-grid electricity in the town? For how many hours does it come? Is water present from the state network?
A: There is no water, electricity or services at all: social, health, schools, clinics or health centres and phone lines. The proportion of wholesale destruction is more than 60% in the homes, offices and schools. There are no vehicles in the municipal office. We have done voluntary work in opening the streets and removing some of the rubble.
Q: What are the most important challenges in terms of the services and humanitarian situation? How has the coronavirus crisis impacted on the council's work?
A: The area is agricultural. the agricultural land area is 72,000 dunams, in need of artesian aquifers to irrigate the lands. There are no impacts of the coronavirus disease among us. We suggest that the aid focus on securing the basic services, preparing the artesian aquifers upon electricity and repairing the electricity and water network, removing rubble, aiding the people in securing the first needs and repairing their homes, securing the doors and windows and the household water storages, solar panels, and vehicles of the town council to offer services to the citizens. Thank you dear brother in advance.