Saturday, August 2, 2008
WHO is concerned about cholera in Iraq
The World Health Organization announced this week that cholera and typhoid are the two main health threats to the people of Iraq. Less than half of Iraq’s population of 29 million people have access to clean, potable water; displaced persons and refugees are particularly at risk. There is a terrible drought happening in Iraq; farmers around Baghdad are forced to irrigate their fields with untreated water from the Tigris River, into which raw sewage is dumped. Lack of adequate water treatment facilities and electrical plants, along with the drought, are the problems cited by concerned health care officials. 2007 was a record year for cholera in Iraq.
While problems with water treatment and electrical plants have worsened since the US invasion and occupation (due to deliberate attacks on these systems both by US forces and those opposed to the occupation and current Iraqi government), the targeted destruction of these vital systems during the first Gulf war, and the limited ability to effect repairs due to subsequent sanctions contributed to this problem.
(AP Photo by Alaa al-Marjani; Women of Najaf collect water. This was taken in March, 2008. Think there's a stream there now?)