Ty­phoid breaks out among Pales­tini­ans from Syria’s Yar­muk camp: United Na­tions agency

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Ty­phoid has bro­ken out among Pales­tinian refugees from the be­sieged Yar­muk camp in the Syr­ian cap­i­tal Damascus, a U.N. agency said Wed­nes­day.

The U.N. agency for Pales­tinian refugees UNRWA said it had been able to con­firm the out­break af­ter gain­ing ac­cess to res­i­dents of the camp shel­ter­ing in the nearby Yalda neigh­bor­hood.

“UNRWA has had its first ac­cess to civil­ians from the be­sieged Pales­tinian refugee camp of Yar­muk, Damascus, since 8th June,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gun­ness said in a state­ment.

“We can now con­firm a ty­phoid out­break among this U.N.-as­sisted pop­u­la­tion with at least six con­firmed cases,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), about 21 mil­lion peo­ple are in­fected with ty­phoid ev­ery year, and an es­ti­mated 216,000 to 600,000 die.

The dis­ease is caused mainly by Sal­mo­nella ty­phi bac­te­ria in food or wa­ter con­tam­i­nated with the fae­ces or urine of in­fected peo­ple.

UNRWA said the visit to Yalda was its first since ac­cess was sus­pended to ar­eas shel­ter­ing dis­placed Yar­muk res­i­dents on June 8.

It has not had ac­cess to Yar­muk it­self since March.

Yar­muk was once a thriv­ing neigh­bor­hood of Damascus, home to both Pales­tinian refugees but also Syr­i­ans.

But af­ter fight­ing erupted in the camp, the gov­ern­ment in 2013 im­posed a block­ade and the area’s pop­u­la­tion shrank from 160,000 to just 18,000.

The siege prompted a ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis, with peo­ple dy­ing for lack of food or ac­cess to med­i­cal care.

The sit­u­a­tion in Yar­muk has wors­ened in re­cent months, with Is­lamic State group mil­i­tants en­ter­ing in April, prompt­ing fierce clashes.

Sev­eral thou­sand civil­ians have been able to leave the camp but the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights mon­i­tor­ing group and a Yar­muk res­i­dent told AFP that up to 14,000 peo­ple are still liv­ing in­side.

De­spite that, the U.N. has re­moved Yar­muk from its list of be­sieged ar­eas in Syria, re­duc­ing the num­ber of Syr­i­ans un­der siege by 18,000 in its May 22 re­port on peo­ple un­der block­ade.

Gun­ness re­peated UNRWA’s long­stand­ing call for hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­cess to the Yar­muk camp.

“Never has the im­per­a­tive for sus­tained hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­cess been greater,” he said.

“UNRWA’s pri­or­ity re­mains the de­liv­ery of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to civil­ians within Yar­muk it­self.”

Butch Comegys/The Times & Tri­bune via AP

A West Scran­ton High School football player briefly cools off at a wa­ter sta­tion dur­ing a break in prac­tice on a hot and hu­mid day at the West Scran­ton In­ter­me­di­ate School in Scran­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia, Tues­day, Aug. 18.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.