Syria sees 13,000 cholera cases, 60 related deaths as outbreak picks up speed

Syria sees 13,000 cholera cases, 60 related deaths as outbreak picks up speed
Sixty people have reportedly died from cholera in Syria since an outbreak of the waterborne disease began last month.

2 min read
16 October, 2022
Cholera, which spreads through contaminated water, is rapidly spreading around Syria [Getty]

The cholera outbreak gripping northern Syria is showing no sign of slowing, with 13,000 suspected cases of the disease and 60 related deaths reported, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Friday.

The cholera wave, which began last month, was first linked to water contamination and the severe water shortage in the northeast of the country, but has now spread elsewhere.

Raqqa National Hospital reported that this was the first time cholera has been confirmed in northeast Syria since 2007.

The UN said this month the outbreak was believed to be linked to irrigation of crops using contaminated water and people drinking unsafe water from the Euphrates river which bisects Syria from the north to the east.

The highly contagious disease has since been found in the country's Kurdish-held and opposition areas in north and northwestern Syria, where millions have been displaced by the decade-long conflict, medical officials said.

Western NGOs say access to safe drinking water is a huge challenge in Syria, which has 40 percent less drinking water than before the conflict began after widespread destruction of national water infrastructure.

A massive 14.6 million people in Syria are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, according to MSF, 6.9 million of whom are women and children.