Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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UN warns that cholera outbreak in Syria is a threat to the region

BEIRUT — The cholera outbreak in Syria poses a serious threat to people in the war-torn country and the region, a UN official said on Tuesday, adding that urgent action is needed to prevent further cases and deaths.

The statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, Imran Riza, came after health officials in the country reported at least five deaths and more than two dozen cases in different provinces.

Syria’s infrastructure has suffered severe damage since the country’s conflict began in March 2011, with residents in some areas having no access to clean water. The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced helped the country’s pre-war population of 23 million, many of whom lived in tent settlements across the country.

Riza said that based on a rapid assessment by health authorities and partners, the source of infection is believed to be related to people drinking unsafe water from the Euphrates River and using contaminated water to irrigate crops, leading to contamination. of food.

“Cholera remains a global public health threat and an indicator of inequity,” Riza said, adding that the outbreak is an indicator of severe water scarcity in Syria.

The statement says that chlorination activities to disinfect water are intensifying and dosage rates are being increased in fragile and highly vulnerable communities to slow the spread of the disease.

On Monday, health officials said hospitals in the Syrian capital were put on alert after more than two dozen cholera cases and at least five deaths were reported.

Cases have been reported in several provinces, including Aleppo in the north, Latakia on the Mediterranean coast, and Deir el-Zour along the border with Iraq.

The outbreak was the first since the country’s conflict began 11 years ago.

Riza said the UN in Syria is asking donor countries for urgent additional funds to contain the outbreak and prevent it from spreading.

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