UN warns cholera outbreak in Syria is a ‘serious threat’ to the region

The outbreak of cholera in Syria presents a serious threat to people in Syria and the wider region, a U.N. official said Tuesday, insisting that urgent action is needed to prevent further cases and deaths.

The statement by the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, Imran Riza, came after health officials in the country reported at least five deaths and more than two dozen cases in different provinces. “Cholera remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity,” Riza said, adding that the outbreak is an indicator of severe water shortages in Syria.

The statement also said that chlorination activities to disinfect water are being increased and dosing rates are being increased in fragile and highly vulnerable communities to curb the spread of the disease.

The war-torn country has faced catastrophic impacts to its infrastructure since the conflict began in March 2011, leaving residents in some areas of Syria with no access to clean water. Many residents have been displaced, leaving many in tent settlements located around the country.