Two people died of cholera in northwest Syria post-quake -civil defence

A view shows damaged buildings in the aftermath of an earthquake, in rebel-held town of Harem, Syria February 13, 2023. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hassano

AMMAN (Reuters) – Two people have died of cholera in Syria’s opposition-held northwest in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that hit the area, a source from the rescue force that operates there told Reuters on Tuesday.

The earthquake left more than 4,000 people dead in the rebel-controlled zone near the Turkish border and damaged fragile health and water infrastructure, prompting fears of a spike in cases of the disease.

The opposition-run civil defence, known as the White Helmets, said that the total number of cholera deaths recorded in the northwest since the outbreak began last year had risen to 22, with another 568 non-fatal cases reported.

“The destruction of infrastructure, water and sewage lines after the earthquake increases the possibility of an outbreak of the disease,” the White Helmets said in a tweet.

A report by the United Nations Security Council last week said the ongoing outbreak had been worsened by “severe shortages” of clean water across the country.

It said Syria’s wet season had been “unusually dry” and hot.

First linked in September 2022 to contaminated water near the Euphrates river, the outbreak spread across various areas of control in the nation fractured by more than a decade of war.

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