September 8, 2008

Visit to Hashimiyah and Cholera Outbreak

September 7, 2008. These are four members of the Babil PRT who travelled with me to Hashimiyah by helo. This photo was taken on the Polish Base in Diwaniyah (Camp Echo) where we stopped for ten minutes for refueling.

Iraqi province on alert for suspected cholera outbreak

HILLA, September 8, 2008 (AFP) - The central Iraqi province of Babel went on alert on Monday after four people were killed by cholera and 200 others were suspected of suffering from the disease, local officials told AFP.

"The laboratory reports from Babel health department indicate there are 200 cases of suspected cholera, vomiting and diarrhoea in the province," the provincial council said. It said the council head, Mohammed al-Masoodi, has ordered the water, electricity and health departments to go on alert in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. Local medics said four people have died from the disease, adding that most of the suspected cases were from Al-Hashimiyah area of northern Hilla, the provincial capital. Six cases of cholera have also been detected and 64 more suspected cases been reported in the southern province of Maysan, a member of parliament told AFP on Monday.
Notwithstanding the above AFP report on the cholera outbreak in Babil Province, the Ministry of Health has not officially confirmed the outbreak, which apparently has struck Hashimiyah in the south and perhaps a town in the north. Cholera outbreaks are not unusual in Iraq at this time of year.

I am sure that there is no cause and effect, but I visited Hashimiyah yesterday, as well as another town in that district called Shomali, which boasts the youngest judge in Iraq.

We have formed a working group on the PRT to monitor the cholera situation and coordinate with relevant entities, like the Health Ministry, local officials, Coalition units and the Embassy. This morning we visited the largest radio station in the region, where I did a live interview for 45 minutes on the work of the Babil PRT.

It seems that our local employees are hearing that the thing that most impressed some listeners wasn't hearing about how a specific project was proceeding or how the PRT worked with various government agencies. No, it was the simple gesture of a traditional Ramadan greeting of wishing for the listeners that God will return their prayers with health and safety.
I decided to join our local employees in the daily fast (no food or water) from sunrise to sunset. So you tank up early in the morning and hold on for the rest of the day.

September 8, Al Furatain Radio Station, Al-Hillah.
Interviewer to the right, interpreter in center and me on the left.

1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/09/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.