An epidemic of cholera “and other infectious diseases” has broken out in Russian-occupied Mariupol, the city has been closed for quarantine, city mayor Vadim Boychenko said in an interview to the BBC. He left Mariupol at the end of March.
“Cholera, dysentery and other infectious diseases are already rampant inside the city, but are hiding it. No one is allowed into or out of the city,” Boychenko said.
Mariupol has been under the control of Russian troops since April. Dorit Nitzan, regional emergency director at the World Health Organization (WHO), had warned of the threat of cholera and other diseases in the city: “We have received information from NGOs working there that the streets are simply flooded, and sewage is mixing with drinking water. It is a huge threat of many infections spreading across the city, including cholera,” he said.
Another cause is that the bombing of the city in March and April killed several thousand locals who were buried in inadequate conditions. “There are downpours that destroy spontaneous burials. Those burials were performed by Mariupol residents during the war - they buried people in courtyards, parks, squares, and on hillsides,” Mayor Boychenko said.
“We’ve received medicines for Mariupol, but they still need to be delivered there. We need to organize humanitarian corridors and deliver medicines to Mariupol,” Boychenko added.
The head of the pro-Russian “city administration” of Mariupol, Konstantin Ivashchenko, did not comment on the possible cholera outbreak and the quarantine. Acting “DNR” Health Minister Aleksandr Oprishchenko claimed on June 6 that “there is no cholera outbreak in Mariupol or other cities of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” but noted that the authorities were monitoring the situation. “Samples are being taken, the situation is being monitored,” he said.