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800 suffer food poisoning at Iraqi camp

About 800 people fell ill in a mass outbreak of food poisoning in a refugee camp in Mosul, Iraq

June 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

About 800 people fell ill in a mass outbreak of food poisoning at a camp for displaced people east of the Iraqi city of Mosul, officials and aid groups said today.

More than 300 people were taken to hospital for treatment after breaking their Ramadan fast with an iftar meal last night, aid groups told Reuters. About 800 in total were affected.

“Ten of my family were poisoned,” one woman said under a tent used as makeshift treatment centre at the camp, with an intravenous rehydration drip in her arm. “It was rice, tomato sauce and chicken legs.”

Another woman held in her arms a child gasping with pain.

United Nations agencies working at the camp said nobody had died as a result.

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Earlier, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported the death of a woman and a child.

“It is tragic that this happened to people who have gone through so much,” said Andrej Mahecic, from the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR, which runs the camp and 12 others in the war-torn area with Iraqi authorities.

Many of the camp’s residents had fled fighting around Mosul as government forces and their allies press an offensive to push Daesh out of the northern city.

The camp in Al-Khazer, on the road linking Mosul and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, houses 6,300 people, the UNHCR said.

“We threw up on the floor, I felt severe pain in the stomach, the doctors came at night but some remained in serious condition till morning,” said a young man at the camp.

Some of those who had been taken to hospitals returned to the camp in the afternoon, in ambulances or in minibuses, many holding serum bags.