As Turkey continues cutting off the water supply of the Euphrates river, cases of poisoning are increasing in the region as a result of water pollution.
Turkey has been blocking the water supply from the Euphrates river since November 2020 and does not comply with its 1987 agreement with Syria and Iraq. Turkey currently provides Syria with only 200 cubic metres of water per second instead of the 500 cubic metres per second stipulated by the agreement. For this reason, there has been a serious decrease in the water provided by three dams in North and East Syria.
Water shortages that affect agricultural activities, animal husbandary and energy production are now posing a danger to human health. The region, where it is difficult to reach fresh water, is in danger of contagious diseases. According to data from hospitals in Kobani and Emel, there have been 230 cases of water poisoning since January. However, this figure only shows the number of those who went to the hospital, and there will be many more who did not seek treatment.
Hawar News spoke to internal medicine specialist Dr Emar Mihemed regarding the increase in poisonings and diseases due to water pollution in the region.
“Since water levels are decreasing, water becomes dirty more quickly,” said Dr Mihemmed. “It contains more bacteria. This causes internal diseases. Infection and diarrhea are common. Undoubtedly, children are the most affected by this.”
He warns that the situation will worsen and there might soon be a humanitarian crisis in the region if the water cuts continue. He concluded by calling on international human rights organisations to take action.