Aleppo, Syria (ILO News) - The ILO and partners inaugurated a new project in the Syrian city of Aleppo, set to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure and create approximately 500 immediate decent jobs and skills development opportunities for community members heavily affected by the February 2023 earthquakes.
ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat opened the launch ceremony, accompanied by Director of the Action Programme on Decent Work in Crisis Situations Maurizio Bussi, Syria Country Coordinator Tomoki Watanabe and other ILO officials. She said the project, currently operating rehabilitation works in 14 locations in the Aleppo neighbourhoods of al-Saliheen and al-Fardos, is expected to benefit 65,000 inhabitants in the area. It will provide them with safe and clear roads thanks to community infrastructure works including debris removal, water sewage repairs, and sidewalk rehabilitation.
“The intervention will soon be scaled up in other affected areas to create as many as 500 decent jobs”, Jaradat said. “Future works will also include the rehabilitation of five schools in Aleppo affected by the earthquakes, providing safe access for up to 5,000 children to education.”
In order to implement such activities, the ILO has been building the capacity of members of the Syrian Order of Engineers and Architects syndicate in Aleppo on the employment-intensive approach and on how to comply with occupational safety and health standards.
On the occasion of the project inauguration, the ILO also handed over structural damage assessment equipment to the syndicate and conducted general assessment methodology training to members to enable them to carry out structural assessments of the damage caused to buildings in Aleppo. Such assessments are necessary for the design of rehabilitation works that allow residents to safely reuse the affected buildings.
“We requested many organizations to provide such support and the ILO was the first to respond to our urgent needs. And the response was the highest in pace and largest in quantity,” engineer Mohammad Korj from the Syndicate said. “The ILO’s support will enhance our technical expertise to conduct proper damage assessment of buildings affected by the earthquakes.”
As part of the inauguration ceremony, partners visited sites where infrastructure works are taking place. A community worker in al-Saliheen, when asked about the working conditions for such demanding tasks, underscored that the workers under the project benefit from comprehensive occupational safety and health measures and use personal protective equipment that has prevented their exposure to danger.
The ILO estimates that around 170,000 workers in Syria have lost their jobs due to the earthquakes, leaving some 154,000 households and more than 725,000 individuals directly affected.
The ceremony was attended by ILO officials and by employer and worker representatives, as well as by officials from the Planning and International Cooperation Commission (PICC), the Aleppo governorate, the Aleppo municipality and various ministry directorates.