Public health experts have warned that the devastating earthquakes that struck south-eastern Turkey and north-western Syira could exacerbate a cholera outbreak in the latter nation.
By Nathan Morley
Public health experts have warned that the devastating earthquakes that struck on 6 February could exacerbate a cholera outbreak in Syria.
During the last few days, over 250 shelters opened across Syria to host earthquake survivors.
In northern Aleppo, 235 shelters were opened, 32 in the north-western province of Latakia, five in Hama and two in the Tartous district.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said Syrians’ resilience to cope with the aftermath of the quake had diminished drastically after more than 10 years of crisis in the country.
A Syrian family in their damaged home in Aleppo
Several aid groups have already warned that the earthquakes could exacerbate a cholera outbreak in Syria. Bodies trapped beneath the rubble could contaminate the water supply and the lack of toilets is also a concern.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 2.1 million people in northwest Syria live in “the most at-risk subdistricts for developing a cholera outbreak”.
Similarly, there are also fears of typhoid and typhus outbreaks.
The UN said the disaster had displaced 5.3 million people in Syria.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a six-month sanction exemption for Syria-bound humanitarian aid.