Hundreds of suspected cases of infection have been registered in Turkish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria. There are already deaths. Experts fear a new epidemic – this time of cholera.
They cry, they scream, they lie completely exhausted on stretchers: the children with cholera symptoms in the city clinic in Hasakah, Syria. The cases confirmed by doctors are 30, but they are increasing with each passing day.
The parents, grandparents of the little patients watch anxiously at their bedsides. “They have been here for four days now – with high fever, vomiting and upset stomach,” said Waba Al-Hamad, a mother of two sick children.
Children and the elderly are especially at risk: if cholera is not treated quickly, it can lead to death. However, the medicine in the clinic is enough for only half of the new patients.
“Unfortunately, we can’t help everyone – only every second person,” says Dr. Shivan Mustafat, whose ward has received eight intensive care patients in just one day. “If the international organizations don’t help us quickly and make sure that Hasaka has enough clean water again, it will be a disaster.”
Hasaka is suffering from an acute water shortage. Turkey has turned the faucet on the people of the region, they complain. In 2019, Turkish units occupied a border area in northeastern Syria, whose Kurdish self-government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a terrorist organization that must be defeated.
Turkey now also controls the reservoir that supplies the region. But almost no water comes out of it. Turkey is said to have also diverted large amounts of water from the rivers. Some are completely dry. Added to this is the heat and drought.
That’s why people in Hasaka often get their water from contaminated wells – the perfect breeding ground for cholera. Hygiene in a number of places is catastrophic. Children often drink from the same cup. “Tanks are often not clean, not cleaned and simply not disinfected”says a local resident.
The refugees in the region, driven from their towns and villages by the Turkish units, are particularly affected. About 15,000 people live in the refugee camp near Hasaka alone. Water is scarce and often polluted. Cholera diseases are becoming more frequent. People in the camp fear that the disease will spread extremely quickly among the refugees, it said DW.
Dr. Dolar Farhan, who cares for patients at the camp, warns: “The camps are always like a ticking time bomb when it comes to such diseases because the pollution here is high. The water is not clean, the vegetables, meat and other foodstuffs are also. Cars pass by the market and spray the foodstuffs with dust and dirt “.
There are already hundreds of suspicious illnesses in the region, and there are also deaths. Aid organizations warn that A cholera epidemic may break out in Syria. It would be the first in ten years and yet another disaster for the crisis-ridden country.
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