Mass Food poisoning affects hundreds at Iraq refugee camp

June 13, 2017 10:30 pm
More than 750 others fallen sick in a mass outbreak of food poisoning at a camp for displaced people east of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul as army soldiers and pro-government volunteers are battling to liberate the metropolis from Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hamoud said on Tuesday that 752 people became ill after eating a meal at the Hassan Sham U2 camp, located about 20 kilometers (13 miles) east of Mosul, the previous evening.
She noted that at least 300 people remain in serious condition.
The Health Ministry later said that no one had died and that two deaths cited earlier had been from other causes
The food was meant for Iftar, a meal with which Muslims break their dawn-to-dusk fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.  
Television images showed listless children and adults hooked up to IV drips. Most of those afflicted were suffering from stomach cramps and dehydration, resulting from vomiting and diarrhea.
Amira Abdulhaliq, an official at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said it remains unclear at which point in preparing, packaging, transporting or distributing the meals, the food became contaminated.
“So far, we have received around 800 cases, around 200 have been transported to the hospitals in Irbil,” she said.
Iraqi lawmaker Raad al-Dahlaki, who chairs the parliament’s immigration and displacement committee and who visited the camp overnight, put the number of sickened people at 850.
Al-Dahlaki said the meal contained rice, a bean sauce, meat, yoghurt plus water, and was distributed by the Qatari charity Foundation Sheikh Thani Ibn Abdullah for Humanitarian Services, which is known by the acronym RAF.

Displaced Iraqi people who fell ill in a mass outbreak of food poisoning, return on a bus after being treated in regional hospitals, at the Hasansham U2 camp in al-Khazer, east of Mosul, , on June 13, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

“We understand that this was a contractor that had brought food to the camp around 4 p.m., to break the daily Ramadan fast, it was to be served at 7:30 (p.m.). And we understand authorities are investigating where the contamination came from, and whether or not it happened as a result of those hours between the arrival and the serving or something else,” International Organization for Migration Spokesman, Joel Millman, said at a press conference at the United Nations building in Geneva, Switzerland.
UNHCR Spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, said, “We are extremely concerned with this event in the camp which has resulted in at least one casualty as I said, with hundreds of other people falling ill. It is tragic that this has happened to the people who have already gone through so much and so much suffering.” The UN refugee agency later said no one had died.
Irbil police chief Abdulhaleq Talaat said seven people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by their Arabic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi, have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the Mosul operation on October 17, 2016.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
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