Thursday, August 30, 2007

Major cholera outbreak

In northern Iraq, there are nearly 4,000 people being treated for cholera, or at least, what they suspect is cholera. Eight people have died so far. There are a total of 82 confirmed cases so far. This is happening in Kurdistan, and at least for the province of Sulaimaniya, I do not think that we can pin this on the ongoing military occupation or prior bombing.

Here’s what a World Health Organization official had to say:

"A health catastrophe could emerge in Kurdistan if help is not urgently offered by other states and the World Health Organisation (WHO)," minister Zairyan Othman told Reuters. Othman said Kurdistan had declared a state of emergency to prevent the spread of the acute intestinal infection, which is caught through contaminated water or food.

There are two major outbreaks that they are covering – one in the province of Sulaimaniya and the other in Kirkuk. The hospital in the province of Sulaimaniya is reportedly well organized and well handled. It is being blamed on a contaminated well, which residents are forced to use because of a shortage of drinking water. In Kirkuk, the contamination is blamed on cracked water pipes. It is unclear if this is due to an aging water system or from bombings in the area, or maybe a combination of the two factors.

This is disrupting many aspects of life in those areas. Let’s hope it is under control soon.

More information on Iraq Today blog about current events in Iraq.