Danger of epidemics: difficult to cure, easy to prevent
- 13:11 21 February 2023
SEMSÛR - Doctor Sara Şimşek, who provides health services to earthquake victims in Semsûr, drew attention to the danger of epidemics and underlined that treatment is difficult, but precautions can be taken easily.
After the earthquakes in Mereş, serious health problems and the danger of contagious diseases began to emerge in the region. Infection is increasing due to thirst, weather conditions, tent and sink problems. Public health expert Doctor Sara Şimşek talked about the health problems in Semsûr and what needs to be done.
Saying that she came to Semsûr on the 5th day of the earthquake, Sara stated that the search and rescue teams had just arrived in the city when she arrived. Sara used the following statements: “According to the information we received, search and rescue efforts were initiated after the public's reactions. Despite being late, many people were able to be pulled out alive in the first days. But hopes were dashed quickly and there has been hopelessness in the last few days. No more rescue work. There is talk of just removing the debris. Both aids arrived late and paramedics arrived late. There are significant shortcomings in all departments. People were lying outside and trying to warm themselves with the fires they lit.”
The danger of an epidemic
“The city is in a cloud of fog because of the destroyed houses, the fires burning outside, the tires burned,” said Sara, and continued: “This fog causes coughing. At the same time, it causes respiratory diseases and great damage to children. People stay out because they have no place to stay. This causes the disease. Most of the patients who come to us come with these complaints. Even after 2 weeks, the problem of accommodation still has not been resolved. People set up tents with their own means and most of them are summer tents. People don't want to go far from their own home. Aftershocks also cause problems. 90% of the houses are damaged. Citizens' lives are in danger again. We can say that staying outside and cold is the main problem in terms of health. The tents are cold, the stoves distributed are not enough. Again, everyone should be sensitive to carbon monoxide poisoning. There should be a certain distance between the tents set up so that there is no fire problem. A tent burned down yesterday. Action should be taken against this.”
'Treatment is difficult, but prevention is easy'
Drawing attention to the cleaning problems experienced, Sara stated that they are working against the danger of epidemics. Expressing that there is no water in the city, Sara said, “Mains water was provided, but since no one can enter the house, they cannot use this water in the houses. Water sources should be created in tents. Again, cleanliness is important, another thing is the toilet. However, there are big problems with this. Toilets are very few. There should be toilets connected to the sewers. Solving the toilet and water problem also creates a healthy space. Diarrhea cases have been coming to us for days. These are troublesome to treat but easy to prevent.”
Discrimination against Syrians
Expressing that she faces discrimination against Syrian citizens, Sara said, “We need to reach them, we have to deliver aid. Many people told us that they still had not received help. Especially for women, healthy conditions should be created. Women should be considered when toilets are brought in. Places that are bright and can be used by women should be chosen. Many women cannot go because of this. This causes infections. Again, paramedics should always be in the field. In the first days, many women could not share their problems due to the lack of numbers.
Stating that there are many things in the aid collected, Sara added that the materials needed by women are insufficient and their needs such as underwear should be sent.