Typhoid fever breaks in Palestinian refugee camp in Syria

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SHAFAQNA - The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has rang alarm bells over typhoid outbreak among Palestinian refugees in Syria, reporting at least six cases in Yarmuk camp.

“UNRWA has had its first access to civilians from the besieged Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk, Damascus, since 8th June,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement cited by Agence France Presse (AFP)

“We can now confirm a typhoid outbreak among this UN-assisted population with at least six confirmed cases.”

Gaining the first access to the besieged Yarmuk camp in two months, the UNRWA found that typhoid has broken out among Palestinian refugees.

At least six cases of typhoid were reported in Yalda, an area east of the Yarmouk camp hosting displaced Palestinian refugees and Syrian civilians.

Besides Yalda, two other Yarmouk areas, Babila and Beit Sahem, have “credible reports” of typhoid outbreaks, UNRWA said.

The UN agency, which is authorized to provide limited health assistance as well as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to the community, medical personnel provided 211 consultations on Tuesday, August 18.

Blockaded by the government since 2013, the population of Yarmuk camp dropped from 160,000 to just 18,000 and then 14,000.

Demanding humanitarian access to the besieged camp, UNRWA’s Gunness said: “Never has the imperative for sustained humanitarian access been greater.

“UNRWA’s priority remains the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians within Yarmuk itself.”

Out of 21 million people who get infected with typhoid every year, an estimated 216,000 to 600,000 die, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict between the Assad regime and opposition forces began in early 2011, according to UN figures published in August 2014.

Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq have taken in more than three million Syrian since the conflict began in 2011, and the refugee crisis has become the worst since World War II.

The number of children displaced inside Syria has risen to nearly 3 million from 920,000 a year ago.

Meanwhile, UNICEF said the number of child refugees has grown to 1.2 million from 260,000 since last year – 425,000 of them under 5 years old.

Millions of Syrians have been forced to flee to neighboring countries since the start of the civil war in 2011, and the refugee crisis has become the worst since World War II.

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