Mariupol may have suffered cholera outbreak, Ukraine claims

Disease risk intensifies as damaged water infrastructure is contaminated by rotting bodies

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Russia has quarantined the Ukrainian city of Mariupol after it was hit by what may be a cholera outbreak, Ukrainian authorities claimed.

Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boychenko, made the remarks after appearing on Ukrainian television on Monday.

Water supplies contaminated by rubbish and decomposing corpses posed a danger of cholera and other diseases such as dysentery.

“The word cholera is increasingly heard in the city among local officials and their supervisors,” Mr Andryushchenko said. “As far as we can see, the epidemic has more or less begun already.”

In remarks carried by Ukraine’s Unian news agency, Mr Andryushchenko, who left the city early on in the war, did not describe what measures Russian authorities had taken. His report has not be independently confirmed.

About 100,000 people remain in the Azov Sea port of Mariupol, which Russia said it captured in May following a month-long siege.

Ukraine’s Health Ministry said that mass graves and inadequate supplies of clean water risked the spread of diseases, The Kyiv Independent newspaper reported.

Last month, the World Health Organisation said that damage to Ukraine's water and sanitation infrastructure posed the risk of a cholera outbreak.

“We are concerned about the potential for a cholera outbreak in occupied areas where water and sanitation is damaged or destroyed,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said during a press briefing from Kyiv.

WHO Ukraine incident manager Dorit Nitzan said the organisation's partners reported “actual swamps in the streets”.

“Sewage water and drinking water are getting mixed. This is a huge hazard for many infections, including cholera,” she said.

Updated: June 06, 2022, 6:43 PM
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