Cholera's Spread in Syria Sends Alarm Bells Ringing

Published October 2nd, 2022 - 08:18 GMT
Dirty water puddles in Syria
A general view shows a puddle of contaminated water at a camp for internally displaced people in the town of Sarmada, in Syria's northwestern Idlib province on September 25, 2022 [Aaref Watad/ AFP]

ALBAWABA - Cholera continues to spread in Syria as carried by news websites and the social media. The disease has been in the news since last months with comments spreading rapidly about the disease. This is the first comment:

Cholera is spreading in the country rapidly according to the United Nations who are carefully monitoring the situation but have already said the spread would be very high. 

There are lots for reasons for the spread of the disease. Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011 with killings, infrastructure ruins and millions and millions of people displaced both, internally, inside the country and outside it. A view as to the latest outbreak.

The World Health Organization has said: "The source of infection could be linked to people drinking water from untreated sources," or "food contamination due to irrigating plants with contaminated water," according to AFP.

The crisis started in the northern Syria and seen to be spreading to the rest of the country, staring in late August and early September through such cities as Aleppo, Deir-ez-Zor, Ar-Raqqa and Al Hasakeh. It started as an outbreak but the UN, working with the Syrian Ministry of Health, today are providing alarming numbers. 

As of 20 September, the number of confirmed cholera cases has reached 253,180 in Aleppo, 25 in Hassakeh, 29 in Deir-Ez-Zor, 13 in Lattakia, two in Damascus, and four in Homs. The Syrian MoH also announced the death of 23 people due to this outbreak: 20 in Aleppo, two in Deir-Ez-Zor, and one in Hassakeh, the OCHA (The UN Humanitarian Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affirs) states.

There is clearly a shortage of clean water that is not safe and this maybe the cause of the cholera outbreak. This maybe the main reason for the spread of the disease.

This outbreak is an indicator of severe shortages of water throughout Syria. Access to safe drinking water is a huge challenge in the conflict-affected country. There is now 40% less drinking water than before the conflict began over a decade ago. Water scarcity is being further compounded by climate change, the OCHA report states. 

Other international organizations are sounding the alarm bells with how do you stop the disease with appeals for donations. 

Many are worried the disease may spread to other neighbouring countries surrounding Syria including Jordan, Lebanon, possibly Turkey and Iraq where there are reports of cholera tipping into these states.

 However Jordan's ex-Health Minister Dr. Saad Al-Kharabsheh sought to downplay its threat to this country.  This was in response to reports that a case Cholera was found in the northern city of Mafraq and is being treated in a public hospital there. The Health Ministry denied such a case existed. 

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