Bolstering efforts to fight cholera in Deir-ez-Zor
Providing access to clean water and sharing critical information on the causes, symptoms, and prevention of cholera
In the past month, thousands of cases of acute watery diarrhoea have been reported in Syria, also affecting children. Cholera is another threat to their survival.
“We live in constant fear of contracting this disease and I hope the outbreak ends soon," said Aysha. She is a mother of four and lives in the rural area of the Deir-ez-Zor governorate.
“My children go to school and play with their peers. I’m worried about them. I look for the mobile teams to get more information about cholera and ways to protect myself and my family from contracting it.”
“My children go to school and play with their peers. I’m worried about them,” said Rukaya, another mother. “I look for the mobile teams to get more information about cholera and ways to protect myself and my family from contracting it,” she added.
Deir-ez-Zor in eastern Syria is one of the governorates recording highest levels of cases. Since first cases were reported, UNICEF has delivered more than 250 tons of sodium hypochlorite in rural and urban areas of the governorate to scale up chlorination activities and increase dosing rates to disinfect water. Additionally, clean water is being trucked to affected locations.
In Syria, nearly two thirds of water treatment plants, half pumping stations and one third of water towers have been damaged because of the conflict.
“Chlorination is very important, especially in fragile and highly vulnerable communities, to provide access to clean water and prevent transmission of diseases.”
“In the Deir-ez-Zor governorate, about 60 per cent of the population relies on alternative and unsafe water sources for their water needs,” said Eyyas Abras, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Officer at UNICEF’s office in Deir-ez-Zor. “Chlorination is very important, especially in fragile and highly vulnerable communities, to provide access to clean water and prevent transmission of diseases,” he added.
UNICEF is also engaging communities across the governorate and sharing critical information on the causes, symptoms, and prevention of cholera. By 6 October 2022, UNICEF and partners had reached more than 57,000 people through house-to-house visits, advocacy meetings with community leaders, and community-based dialogue sessions with parents and caregivers.
Health workers on the ground have been equipped with skills to run awareness raising sessions and disseminate messages on bringing trustworthy information to children, their families, and communities to curb the spread of the disease.
While UNICEF works tirelessly with WHO and partners to control the spread of the outbreak, more funding is urgently needed to support the lifesaving interventions.