Concern over cholera threat grows in Iraq

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On 20 October, Rogina, 10, from Darek, Syria, demonstrates proper handwashing to her classmates in a school in Domiz Camp for Syrian refugees in Dohuk Governorate, Iraq. Photo: UNICEF/IRQA2015-00304/Niles

Efforts are under way in Iraq to shield people from the effects of a cholera outbreak that has already infected more than 2,200 people, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said.

Around 20 per cent of them are children, across 15 of the country's 18 governorates.

There are concerns that the disease could spread further, owing to recent rains and ongoing insecurity.

Daniel Dickinson reports.

The cholera outbreak in Iraq was confirmed in mid-September and since then a vaccination campaign has been undertaken by the UN. 

However, heavy rains in late October inundated several areas of the country, raising concerns that cholera could spread. 

Extensive flooding near Baghdad caused sewage systems to overflow, impacting 65,000 residents in camps for people displaced by Iraq's ongoing violence. 

Here's UNICEF's Christophe Boulierac. 

"We are concerned that the disease could spread further due to recent torrential rain and ongoing insecurity. We are also concerned about marginalized and displaced children, women and their families in particular. The cholera outbreak in Iraq is disproportionately affecting displaced and marginalized populations." 

UNICEF has provided health authorities with over 800,000 sachets of oral rehydration salts to treat patients suffering from dehydration, owing to cholera. 

Information materials are also being delivered to households across Iraq. 

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’08″

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