What is a shelter?

Since the beginning of 2018, people in Eastern Ghouta are living underground most of the time due to the heavy shelling of the Russian and Syrian regime, but what is a shelter?

  • Shelters are unsupported industrial cellars, located directly under the ground floor, are often not divided into rooms, and have walls and concrete floors.

What about services in the shelter?

  • There is no heating in the cellars currently due to poor ventilation and the lack of adequate or safe heating devices
  • Light and air come from windows a little higher than ground level and most of those windows are destroyed by shelling
  • The only way to access water is through tanks that are periodically filled by local councils and initiatives
  • Sewerage is unpaved wholes that are periodically discharged
  • Electricity comes through an expensive fuel generator to ensure the discharge of sewage and some other basic processes.

How people go in and out of the shelter?

  • People run into shelters in case of heavy shelling, where an airstrike or two per day is a “normal number” of shelling and does not require going to shelters
  • No emergency exits within the basements, so people wait for the relative calm of shelling to get out of the shelter and secure their minimum needs of bread, water and sewage discharge.

Are shelters safe?

  • Although they are under ground, but some missiles had been able to get through and explode inside
  • Russian warplanes sometimes use “bunker-busters bombs” that can destroy basements
  • When crowded, basements can be places where diseases spread easily, especially among children