UK warns of major cholera outbreak in Mariupol, Ukraine
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has said that Mariupol, now controlled by Russian forces after weeks of siege and heavy bombardment, is at risk of a major cholera outbreak. “There is likely a critical shortage of medicines in Kherson, while Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak. Isolated cases of cholera have been reported since May,” the UK Defence Ministry said in the latest intelligence update.
The city’s exiled deputy mayor says the 100,000 people still in the city are at increasing risk of the disease.
Russia is currently struggling to provide basic public services to the population in Russianoccupied territories. Access to safe drinking water has been inconsistent, while major disruption to telephone and internet services continues. Ukraine suffered a major cholera epidemic in
1995, and has experienced minor outbreaks since. Medical services in Mariupol are likely already near collapse: a major cholera outbreak in Mariupol will exacerbate this further.
Expressing concern over the situation, Mariupol Mayor, Vadym Boychenko, said, “Without medicine and medical care, the restoration of water supply and proper sewerage in the city will erupt epidemics.”
UK defence chiefs have also said that there is likely to be a critical shortage of medicines in Kherson, another city in southern Ukraine.
Cholera is a very serious illness, which can kill within hours if left untreated. The spread of cholera is closely linked to poor sanitation facilities and unsafe drinking water, where the disease can thrive and spread. Vaccines, combined with improvements in water and sanitation, can help get cholera outbreaks under control.