(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
Syria said on Monday that 29 people had died of cholera in what
the United Nations has called the worst outbreak of the disease in
the war-torn country for years, reports citing .
Rapid assessment testing has confirmed 338 cases since the
outbreak was first recorded last month, Syria's health ministry
said in a statement, with the bulk of the deaths and cases in the
northern Aleppo province.
It said 230 cases were in Aleppo province, where 25 people were
confirmed dead. The rest were spread across Syria.
The U.N. said this month the outbreak was believed to be linked
to irrigation of crops using contaminated water and people drinking
unsafe water from the Euphrates river which bisects Syria from the
north to the east. read more
The highly contagious disease has also spread to the country's
Kurdish-held and opposition areas in north and northwestern Syria,
where millions have been displaced by the decade-long conflict,
medical officials said.
Suspected cholera cases have risen to 2,092 in the northeast of
Syria, the U.S.-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) which
operates in the northern region, said, adding that there were fears
of significant under-reporting of cases.
Western NGOs say access to safe drinking water is a huge
challenge in Syria, which has 40% less drinking water than before
the conflict began after widespread destruction of national water
Water scarcity is further compounded by climate change.
The Syrian Civil Defence, rescue workers operating in opposition
territory, said on Monday that medics reported the first three
cases of cholera in the sprawling overcrowded Kafr Lusin camps near
the border with Turkey.
'This is a dangerous development for civilian lives with the
start of the spread of the disease quickly under bad health
conditions and especially in the camps,' the Western-backed group
said in a statement.
The U.N. has warned of high mortalities if cholera spreads in
the densely populated strip, where tens of thousands of displaced
Syrians live in dire conditions with limited supplies of safe water
The World Health Organization (WHO) had already begun sending
urgent shipments of medical supplies and chlorine tablets for water
purification, officials said.
Before the recent cholera outbreak, the water crisis had caused
an increase in problems such as diarrhoea, malnutrition and skin
conditions, the WHO has said.
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