The previous post featured an interview with a person from the East Ghouta town of Douma, giving an overview of the situation there. This post features an interview I conducted with the page Douma- دوما on 24 August 2019. It is slightly edited and condensed for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: What is the number of inhabitants in Douma currently? And what was the number before the events?
A: Currently 300,000-350,000 approximately. Before the events it was 700,000-750,000.
Q: How is the services situation in Douma generally? I mean from the aspect of electricity and water etc.
A: Now the electricity situation in general is improving. When the town was first taken there were private generators supplying the town in its entirety but the kilo[watt hour] of electricity was at a price of 350 [Syrian pounds]. After the head of the municipal office and members of the council and officials were appointed, there has been progress. Mr. Ziyad Adam has taken responsibility for electricity in the town. And over the past year and a half, 80% of the town has been supplied with electricity. And work is continuing. 90% of the streets of the town have been lighted. The electricity is operational most of the day.
As for water, the town council headed by the engineer Nabeel Taha has focused on the issue of electricity and water and working to clean the town of the remnants of the terrorists. Until now the cleaning operations are continuing.
Q: What are the biggest projects in the town recently and what are the biggest challenges regarding services and the humanitarian situation currently?
A: Regarding the state institutions, the court has returned thanks to the zealous efforts of the white hands [generous benefactors] that have donated to renovate it, among them Muhammad Khayr Subhi Saryul member of the People's Council and Aamer Khayati and the recruitment branch has returned after Aamer Khayati was entrusted with renovating it.
The connection networks are fine.
There are no landlines until now. Work is being done on renovating the phone centre after Muhammad Khayr Subhi Saryul was entrusted with removing the landfill.
Our town is suffering from things: there is no public hospital in the town until now. There are only two clinics. And there are two private hospitals in the town: Hamdan hospital and al-Yaman hospital.
And the schools: until now some of the schools of Douma have not yet been renovated and most of them suffer from a lack of teaching staff.
Of course the town council has not fallen short in offering services, but there is great pressure because of the amount of work.
Q: Are there any aid organizations helping the town council in its efforts?
A: I do not expect so. Support is from the provincial governor only. There is the UNICEF organization that has kindly put in place big storage tanks to secure drinking water in the town.
Of course I would like to mention to you that there is a branch of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent: a health centre providing support with an ambulance and first aid.
Q: How is the security situation in the town?
A: The security situation is very good. Our lens can go about in the town at 2 or 3 a.m. Of course there are shops open for 24 hours. The security situation is excellent with the spread of Syrian Arab Army checkpoints in the town.
A new restaurant that has opened in Douma
Q: What is the proportion of destruction in the town approximately?
A: The proportion of destruction in my view is no great but the symbols of the town are damaged.
Q: Have many of the sons of Douma joined the Syrian Arab Army recently?
A: Many of the sons of the town have joined and until now the recruitment branch is engaging in its work of taswiyas [regularizing statuses] and drafting those who have evaded service.