The Outbreak in Syria
Since late August 2022, cases of severe acute watery diarrhoea have been increasingly reported across Syria, concentrated particularly along the Euphrates river. These were later confirmed to be cholera cases.1 Cholera is a disease caused by bacteria that can be found in faeces, and spreads through people consuming contaminated water or food. It causes severe watery diarrhoea and vomiting which lead to dehydration. If treated immediately, less than 1% of cases result in patients dying. However, if timely treatment is not available, cholera can lead to death within hours in 25 to 50% of cases.2,3 The situation is critical in Syria as the local population is facing a severe water crisis due to drought, falling groundwater levels,4 reduced flow in the Euphrates River,5 and reduced functionality of Alouk water station.6
REACH has been monitoring developments in Northeast Syria through regular data collection cycles, remote sensing data, and rapid needs assessments. Relevant outputs include two reports on the water crisis and a dashboard following trends in electricity and water access.
Using this data, this brief aims to highlight factors that may contribute to the spread of cholera and other waterborne diseases in Northeast Syria.