Residents of the Syrian market town of Markada have been working with local authorities to restore basic services and reconstruct damaged buildings since the ouster in November of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
The town, near al-Shaddadi in southern al-Hasakeh province, now resembles a construction site, with the recently opened municipality centre functioning as a hub for the management of local rehabilitation projects.
Since the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Deir Ezzor Military Council liberated Markada, commercial activity is beginning to recover and the town is regaining its vigour, media activist Ammar Saleh told Diyaruna.
Reconstruction work is being carried out via the municipalities and environment committee of al-Hasakeh canton council, he said.
Al-Hasakeh council equipped the Markada municipality centre, which serves as a hub for ongoing reconstruction work, in co-ordination with the town's civil council.
"The municipality centre was inaugurated with the attendance of a large number of town residents, and was named the People’s Municipality Centre," Saleh said.
The ribbon was cut by the father of one of the town’s martyrs who fell in the fight against ISIS, he added.
Al-Hasakeh canton council contributed heavy machinery that enabled the town council to remove remnants of war and earth berms blocking roads in and around Markada and restore the flow of traffic, Saleh said.
This took place after technical teams finished clearing the town of mines, he added, which has "encouraged almost all residents to return to their homes".
"The local councils in the region are distributing food to residents to help them get through this period," he said, supplying flour, legumes and basic foodstuffs.
Medical care was "almost nonexistent in the town of Markada", said Markada civil council health committee member Dr. Hussein Dhabit.
Providing care was a "top priority due to the distance separating Markada and surrounding villages from other towns and villages where essential medical care was provided", he told Diyaruna.
Through co-operation between the town’s civil council and the health committee in al-Hasakeh, a medical centre was opened to provide services to Markada and 70 surrounding villages, he said.
The medical centre has been equipped with a pharmacy and an ambulance to transport critical cases to al-Hasakeh city, Dhabit added.
"The services are provided by two doctors and a staff of six nurses," he said, noting that the opening of the centre was very well received by the residents, who have long suffered from lack of access to medical and emergency services.
Meeting basic needs
"Markada civil council’s services committee is trying to provide basic living requirements to residents of the town and surrounding villages," committee member Amer al-Abdullah told Diyaruna.
It has secured fuel and household gas, which had been cut off for close to two years, he said, and has implemented a temporary solution to the problem of drinking water supply by providing four water tankers.
Each tanker has a capacity of 10,000 litres, he said.
"The tankers were put at the disposal of the services committee and were provided by the civil councils in al-Hasakeh and al-Shaddadi," al-Abdullah said.
The tankers will operate until repairs are completed on the drinking water pumping stations and supply network, which sustained heavy damage in the fighting to oust ISIS.
Al-Hasakeh suffers from an acute water shortage as a result of damage to al-Suwar pumping station, which supplies Markada, al-Suwar, al-Arisha, al-Dashisha, al-Alwa, al-Sabaa wa-Arbaeen and al-Shaddadi, he said.
"Work is ongoing to repair it in co-operation with and the support of the international coalition’s civil affairs unit," al-Abdullah said.