Millions of Syrians in Damascus and the surrounding areas are suffering from an acute water shortage as ongoing military operations between the Syrian government forces and insurgents in Wadi Barada have cut off the capital’s water supply.

Wadi Barada in the upper Barada river valley is the main water-supply source for the capital. The continuous fighting between the Syrian army and rebel groups has severely damaged water supply facilities over the past half month.

Damascus residents have been braving cold weather to fetch water at temporary supply points across the city. They usually wait for about three hours, enduring the harsh winter winds.

The water shortage has caused great inconvenience, with some residents concerned about their personal hygiene amid the ongoing crisis. The United Nations have warned about the risks of the spread of infectious diseases due to lack of water resources.

The water supply company in Damascus has started emergency measures to address the issue, including collecting water from wells.

However, using underground water and drawing on resources from other areas will not be enough to alleviate the water shortage in Damascus for now.