Water crisis in Hasakah, North and East Syria, leads to surge in waterborne illness

HASAKAH, North and East Syria — Amid soaring temperatures and Turkey’s cutting of water from the Alouk Pumping Station, over one and a half million residents of Hasakah, North and East Syria, and its surroundings are forced to buy water from unknown sources, resulting in an increase in illness in the region.

The People’s Hospital in Hasakah has been inundated with cases of waterborne illness among children and the elderly. Dr. Rezkar Khalil, a doctor at the hospital, confirmed that cases of waterborne illness have surged over the past two months. Patients are suffering from stomach and intestinal disorders due to contaminated drinking water, which causes severe diarrhea and nausea, posing significant health risks.

Khalil noted that the high summer temperatures have also exacerbated the number of cases. “The People’s Hospital receives dozens of cases daily, ranging from low-risk to dangerous. Last month alone, we treated 2,200 cases,” he added. Khalil urged Hasakah residents to be vigilant and consult doctors if they notice these symptoms in their children.

In related news, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Hanan Balkhy, called on the international community to address the migration of doctors from Syria. She highlighted that healthcare workers in Syria are paid low wages, leading to a significant exodus of the health workforce, with about half having fled the country.