Egypt sends cholera medicine, vaccines to Lebanon

Egypt has said it will send 17 tons of medicine and vaccines to help combat Lebanon’s severe cholera epidemic.

An Egyptian military plane will arrive in Beirut on Wednesday morning to deliver the aid, the Egyptian Embassy in Lebanon said.

According to the mission, Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati requested help with the epidemic— the country’s first in three decades—from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi at the recent Arab League summit in Algeria.

More than 2,700 confirmed or suspected cases of cholera and 18 deaths have been recorded in Lebanon since the outbreak began in early October.

Lebanon’s eight governorates have been infected, but northern areas near the Syrian border and refugee camps are particularly vulnerable because of their poor sanitation.

However, cases are starting to emerge. There have been no deaths for a week owing to a push by authorities and humanitarian agencies to contain cholera, a diarrheal illness that is easily treated but can kill if left untreated.

Lebanon has just received its first batch of cholera vaccines, which consist of more than 13,000 doses, from France. Another 600,000 doses will be provided by the UN next week.

The cholera strain found in Lebanon is similar to the one in neighbouring Syria, which is also battling a major epidemic.

Major shortages in medicine, clean water, and electricity have beset Lebanon, which is grappling with a severe economic crisis.

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