UN expresses concern over 26 cholera cases in Syria


Damascus, Sep 14 : A total of 26 cholera cases have been confirmed in Syria, and a UN official expressed "serious concern about the outbreak of the disease". The Syrian Health Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that two people died from cholera in the northern city of Aleppo, while 20 cases were confirmed in Aleppo, four in the coastal city of Latakia, and two in the capital Damascus. It stressed that necessary measures are taken to quell the spread of the disease and hospitals have been provided with extra stock of medication in case of any increase of the confirmed cases, Xinhua news agency reported. The situation of the disease and the number of confirmed cases have been updated every 24 hours, the Ministry added. Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that cholera has also spread in the western part of Deir al-Zour, which is controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It also said that six people died after contracting cholera in the Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria over the past week. In northern Raqqa city, also controlled by the SDF, cholera cases are increasing gradually with 15 cases confirmed there, according to the Observatory. The UK-based watchdog group cited sources speculating that the cause behind the outbreak is contaminated water. For his side, Imran Riza, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, expressed in a statement on Monday, serious concern over what he described as the "ongoing cholera outbreak in Syria". The statement said that between August 25 and September 10, the surveillance data showed that a total of 936 severe acute watery diarrhoea cases were reported in Syria, including at least eight deaths. It noted that based on a rapid assessment, the source of infection is believed to be linked to people drinking unsafe water from the Euphrates river and using contaminated water to irrigate crops, resulting in food contamination. It pointed out that the outbreak of cholera is an indicator of severe shortage of water throughout Syria. It added that the UN agencies and non-governmental organisations are coordinating closely with health authorities to ensure a timely and effective response. /IANS


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