The UK Ministry of Defense has warned that the southern Ukrainian town of Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak as medical services are likely already on the verge of collapse.
Highlighting the critical shortage of medicine in Kherson, Mayor Vadym Boichenko said the wells had been contaminated by the corpses of people killed during weeks of Russian bombardment and siege.
“There is an epidemic of dysentery and cholera. It is unfortunately the assessment of our doctors: that the war which has taken away more than 20,000 inhabitants… unfortunately, with these epidemics of infection, will make thousands of Additional Mariupolites,” he told national television.
Cholera is an acute form of diarrhea that can be treated with antibiotics and hydration, but can kill within hours if left untreated. It is caused by a germ usually transmitted by poor sanitation. People become infected when they swallow food or water that carries the virus.
Boichenko placed the city under quarantine after calling it a “medieval ghetto”. Mariupol, which is now an urban wasteland, was previously a vibrant city with around 430,000 inhabitants.
Shedding light on the lack of centralized water, electricity and gas supply in Mariupol, Boichenko urged the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to work on setting up a humanitarian corridor to help residents to leave town.
Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin calling his attack on Ukraine a ‘special military operation’ aimed at disarming and ‘denazifying’ its neighbour, Moscow is struggling to provide basic public services to people in Russian-occupied territories .
Mariupol, which is now controlled by Russian forces after weeks of siege and heavy shelling, is among the occupied areas where there was a risk of cholera according to Dorit Nitzan, Ukraine Incident Manager at WHO.
(With agency contributions)
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Post expires at 6:13pm on Monday June 20th, 2022