Cholera outbreak in Northeast Syria leaves 16 people dead

Cholera outbreak in Northeast Syria leaves 16 people dead
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Many people do not have access to clean water in the region, as a severe water crisis is exacerbated by attacks on a water station that services one million people.

Northeast Syria is faced with a cholera outbreak and recently 16 people died of cholera in the region, the top health official of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) said on Wednesday.

Jiwan Mustafa, the co-chair of the Health Board, told a press conference in Qamishli that there were 2,867 suspected and 78 confirmed cases, and 16 deaths across North and East Syria, mostly in Deir ez-Zor, have been reported.

As Mustafa confirmed the presence of the bacteria that causes the infection in the Euphrates River, he warned that if the situation turns into a epidemic, the Health Board does not have the capabilities to manage alone.

He noted that one of the major reasons for the rapid increase in cholera cases is that many people drink untreated water directly from the Euphrates into which sewage is dumped, adding that the use of the river's water for agriculture is another factor that makes the situation worse.

Alouk water station not operating since early August

"The situation is critical in Syria as the local population is facing a severe water crisis due to drought, falling groundwater levels, reduced flow in the Euphrates River, and reduced functionality of Alouk water station," a recent report by REACH said.

Alouk water station, which services around one million people in the region, has not been operating

since the 9th of August 2022, the report noted.

The disruption in the water station's operation was caused by the attacks of Turkish forces and their proxies, Syrian authorities had said in mid August.

Jiwan Mustafa called for international pressure to have the station resume operations, saying: 

"We call on the global community to force Turkey to allow flow of clean water to Hasakah from Alouk pumping station."