With the summer heat still in full swing, some 306 cases of cholera have broken out in Iraq. At least 12 people, including four children, have died from confirmed or suspected cases of cholera a United Nations statement said today.
But a mission to Iraq lead by the World Health Organization and UNICEF said the cases were being contained and the government has responded swiftly.
The number so far is much smaller than the 4,700 cases reported last year and "below Iraq's annual average of 600." a United Nations statement said Thursday.
The outbreaks and ensuing deaths have built up in "rural areas" where people live with no clean water and sewage running through the streets.
According to the July quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction only 20 percent of families outside of Baghdad province have access to sewage facilities.
Driving through Iraq's province is all the proof one needs. In many southern provinces the sewage runs like rivers through the towns while children play nearby and young kids swim through the dirty river water.
Some 66 percent of the cholera cases broke out in the southern province of Babel which is a concern, the United Nations statement said. The WHO is monitoring 950 surveillance sites in Iraq that watch for suspected cases and UNICEF is working with partners to "provide water, hygiene supplies and information for over 45,000 people and schools."
The cholera outbreak has been the talk of Iraqi newspapers over the past few weeks.
Below a political cartoon from today's Al Mutamar newspaper shows a monster rising from a heap labeled "filth" and "foul water." The monster is labeled "cholera," and he chases after a man who thinks "This is what was missing!"