Floods in Iran and Iraq Leave Almost 70 Dead – Fear of Cholera Outbreak in Iraq


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Heavy rain and flooding since late October have left almost 70 people dead in Iran and Iraq. The UN have said that the flooding in Iraq has exacerbated a cholera outbreak.

Iraq Floods

At least 58 people have died in flash floods over the last week across Iraq, the country’s Health Ministry has said on Friday 06 November 2015.

Many of the victims were killed by electrocution caused by rain-related incidents in several parts of the country. One of the worst hit areas has been the capital Baghdad, where 65,000 residents have been affected by the overflow sewage system due to the extensive flooding, according to UNICEF, adding to the increased risk of cholera.

Floods have also affected areas outside the capital, including Wasit governorate to the south east. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) said that it had evacuated a number of families from their flooded homes in the districts of Badra and Aldboney.

Mr. Haider Al-gaderey, IRCS’s relief team leader said, “A number of houses in the Badra and Aldboney districts have collapsed due to rising in the levels of heavy rains water, and also the flow of water which coming from Iran”.

“IRCS’s relief teams in Wasit, in cooperation with the army aviation, has evacuated families that besieged by floods and take them to safer places, and now they are in good health, as the IRCS’s teams provided them with shelter and food”.

Floods in Iraq, November 2015. Photo: Iraqi Red Crescent Society
Floods in Iraq, November 2015. Photo: Iraqi Red Crescent Society
Photo: Iraqi Red Crescent Society
Photo: Iraqi Red Crescent Society
Floods in Iraq, November 2015. Photo: Iraqi Red Crescent Society
Flood damage in Iraq, November 2015. Photo: Iraqi Red Crescent Society

2,200 Cases of Cholera in Iraq

UN agencies and their partners are working to combat a cholera outbreak in Iraq that so far has resulted in more than 2,200 cases of the disease.

“There is unfortunately a high risk that cholera will reach more areas of Iraq, affecting marginalized and displaced children, women and their families in particular, so we have to act fast,” UNICEF Representative in Iraq Peter Hawkins said in a statement made on 06 November 2015.

He added, “Heavy rains in late October inundated several areas of the country considered vulnerable to the spread of cholera”

According to the statement, “since the cholera outbreak was confirmed in mid-September, UNICEF has supported the distribution of bottled water to 37,000 people, and water trucking at a rate of 100,000 litres per day, benefiting 5,000 people. Community water tanks sufficient for 15,500 people have been installed, and family water and hygiene kits distributed to 44,250 families.”

Cholera is caused by contaminated food or water. It can lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not provided quickly.

A health worker gives a cholera prevention and treatment pamphlet to a family in Sadr City, Baghdad. Photo: UNICEF/IRQA2015-00226/Khuzaie
A health worker gives a cholera prevention and treatment pamphlet to a family in Sadr City, Baghdad. Photo: UNICEF/IRQA2015-00226/Khuzaie

 

Floods in Iran Since October 2015

Meanwhile in neighbouring Iran, at least 9 people have been killed and 9 others injured in floods and severe weather that struck in late October 2015. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) say that 24 provinces have been affected in northern and western Iran.

According to IFRC, about 400  Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran National Society teams of 1,800 relief workers and rescuers were mobilised and equipped with 310 vehicles, 50 motor pumps and two helicopters to respond to the emergency situation and offer the much needed aid to the affected communities, reaching more than 17,700 people.

Dr Naser Charkhsaz, the head of the Relief and Rescue Organization at the Red Crescent detailed on the operations of the National Society during and in the aftermath of the flooding: “Red Crescent volunteers pumped water out of 1,300 houses and the National Society’s emergency health teams treated 11 people and transferred 93 others to medical centres. Eighteen people trapped under the rubble were also rescued by the volunteers and 39 were evacuated to safer areas.”

Dr Charkhsaz added that the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran provided shelter to 1,400 people affected by the storms and the floods. The Iranian National Society also got involved in the distribution of relief items to people in the flood-hit areas, and these items included 180 tents, 5,400 blankets, 1,900 mats, 570 kitchen sets, 500 heaters, 2,400 parcels of canned food, 10,000 loaves of bread and 4,300 bottles of water. 8,500 kilograms of relief consignments were also dispatched to flood-hit areas.

The Red Crescent’s emergency response teams are still actively carrying out relief operations in the provinces of Ilam, Lorestan and Kerman.

Flood damage in Iran, late October 2015. Photo: IFRC
Flood damage in Iran, late October 2015. Photo: IFRC