Epidemic danger in the earthquake zone! – Last minute Turkey and world news

SAFAKNA, TURKEY. After the earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 in Kahramanmarash, which affected 10 provinces centered in Pazardzhik and Elbistan, limited access to clean drinking and technical water, hygiene materials and toilets in the earthquake area led to the risk of epidemic disease. prof. Dr. Hamzaoglu warned of the health risks in the region.

Since the earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 in Kahramanmaras, limited access to clean water, hygiene products and toilets in the region, and the fact that the bodies have not been buried, pose public health risks.

During the earthquake in Golcuk in 1999, the earthquake coordinator of the Turkish Medical Association, a specialist in public health and epidemiology, prof. Dr. Onur Hamzaoglu stated that not meeting basic needs could lead to the risk of an epidemic and said: “We have established coordination centers at the level of all districts and cities during the Marmara earthquake. We provided information on the arrangement of tent camps, provision of clean drinking and technical water, the need for toilets and ensured their regularity. Then there were several cases, but there was no epidemic, although it was summer. There is an urgent need to ensure access to clean drinking and industrial water and toilets in the area of ​​the earthquake that affected 10 provinces.


prof. Dr. Hamzaoglu said: “There is no epidemic in the region yet; But there is a risk of an epidemic. These risks can be grouped into four categories, especially in relation to the impact of shelter conditions and the lives of earthquake victims after they emerge from the rubble.

– Risk due to the inability to meet the demand for clean drinking and technical water and toilet

– Garbage and the risk of not collecting garbage

– Risk of respiratory diseases

– Risk associated with vaccine-protective diseases

The biggest risk is waiting for people; waterborne diseases such as typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, bacillary dysentery, amoebic dysentery and hepatitis A (jaundice). For this reason, clean drinking and industrial water and mobile toilets must be put into operation systematically, regularly and continuously in the shortest possible time. It must be accompanied by hygiene items. Hands must be washed, and if we show the same care in preparing food, we will take an important step in preventing the spread of waterborne diseases. Preliminary reports from the devastated areas of the region show that there is no regular supply of clean water in the settlements and these requirements cannot be met due to the impossibility of installing toilets. They need to be restored as soon as possible. Clean drinking and industrial water must be provided, as well as portable toilets. It should not be neglected that the garbage is regularly collected and taken out of the living quarters.


Noting that there should be no storage space in the installed toilets, Prof. Dr. Hamzaoglu said: “Because emptying the warehouse causes similar problems. Therefore, 75 cm deep and 45 cm. It should be removed by digging a wide trench and, if there is a sewer system nearby, connecting to it. Hygiene products, especially soap, should be near the toilet. It is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that these toilets are far from settlements and water sources. The corresponding area is determined, the pits are opened, and as they are filled, they fall asleep and new ones are opened. It is important that the place for washing is away from the toilet. On the other hand, it is necessary to dig a hole in the place where the hands are washed so that the water does not spread to the sides. In this way, zones that will satisfy the need for toilets can be created in places where earthquake survivors are located, without the need for any advanced technology.”


Noting that water and soap are vital for absolute cleaning, Prof. Dr. Hamzaoglu said: “Wet wipes or cologne are better than nothing; but still not to be completely trusted. Existing bacterial and viral contamination must be drained. Unless these products are specially manufactured, they do not have the ability to neutralize bacteria and viruses. At this stage, we must rely on liquid soap. Thoroughly rubbing hands, including between fingers and nails, for 20 seconds with soap and water, rinse them with water. For diseases associated with waterborne and unhygienic diets; Diarrhea (watery stools at least 3 times a day) is observed in people who have not previously been observed. So this is an important conclusion. This may be accompanied by fever and abdominal pain,” he said.


“Besides, it’s a very big risk to keep the bodies in the open air,” the professor said. Dr. Hamzaoglu said: “The human gut is full of bacteria. As the corpses wait and stay out in the open, they can spread. On the other hand, such a situation will negatively affect people morally. For this reason, it is necessary to quickly identify the dead of our citizens and inform their relatives about this and bury them. Considering that burials can be carried out under the supervision of forensic experts during periods of natural disasters, this can be done without problems when organizing.


Emphasizing that respiratory diseases are another risk, Prof. Dr. Hamzaoglu continued his words as follows: “Because of the winter conditions, the victims of the earthquake are forced to stay together and indoors. In this regard, the frequency of being together in collective life, that is, in stuffy rooms, increases; thereby increasing the risk of airborne diseases. We know that especially during this period, the risk of influenza, Covid-19 and upper respiratory tract infections is high. For this reason, people with complaints of cough and runny nose should remain as disguised as possible in these conditions. Vaccination of those who do not have the influenza vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine should be arranged by the Ministry of Health.

Housing conditions also need to adapt quickly. First of all, unused guest houses of state institutions and unused houses in large cities should be provided to earthquake victims by central agreement. In addition, areas for accommodation of containers should be created, if this is not possible, tents suitable for winter conditions should be set up.


Focusing on the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, Prof. Dr. Hamzaoglu said: “Vaccinations are very important, especially for babies, children and pregnant women. Prior to the earthquake, some problems were reported in our country with the supply of vaccines. All of this needs to be addressed quickly, our babies and children vaccinated according to the immunization schedule, tetanus shots for all our pregnant women.”

News Demet Demirkir from Habertürk

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