Lebanon Grapples with First Cholera Outbreak in 30 Years
Lebanon is facing yet another crisis. The Mediterranean country – already suffering from economic and political crises - has been dealing with its first cholera outbreak in the past 30 years.
A month after its first case was reported, there are now around 2,709 confirmed and suspected cholera cases in Lebanon. In the past four weeks, 18 deaths have been caused by this disease.
The outbreak started on October 5 when cholera cases were confirmed in a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon’s Akkar region, in the north of the country. Other countries in the region already were suffering from the spread of the disease that originated in Afghanistan in summer.
Iraq and Syria were heavily affected since, like Lebanon, they are areas struggling with devastated infrastructure, turmoil and with large populations of people displaced by war. After Syria surpassed 20,000 suspected cholera cases and 75 deaths, the disease crossed the border and spread through the Lebanese population.
“Electricity cuts, low socioeconomic levels, the absence of sewer systems in rural areas and the refugee crisis are all essential factors regarding the spread of cholera, which is transmitted by water sources contaminated by the bacteria coming from stagnant waters and infecting peoples’ stools,” said Hasan Ismail, the Amel Association’s medical coordinator.
Ismail told the media: “With all preventive measures absent in most Lebanese cadasters, the infection continues to spread, especially with vegetables and agricultural products irrigated with infected waters.” (JPost / VFI News)
“The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” - Proverbs 18:14