An Iraqi refugee camp saw widespread food poisoning this week that killed one child and hospitalized around 200 others, the United Nations refugee relief agency UNBHCR reported Tuesday.
The outbreak at the UNHCR Hasansham U2 refugee camp east of Mosul affected an estimated 800 people, according to CNN. Camp residents started complaining about stomach pains and vomiting after Iftar, an evening meal that Muslims eat to break their fast during Ramadan.
"The police authorities are currently carrying out an investigation into the incident," the UNHCR said in a statement on Facebook Tuesday. "… Staff have been working closely overnight to coordinate the response with other agencies and the relevant authorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Baghdad to ensure that those who have fallen ill were able to receive swift medical treatment and that the seriously sick were provided transport to nearby hospitals.
"Extra clean water is now being provided at the camp and additional health agencies have been brought in to help in the response," the statement continued.
The Kurdistan online newspaper Rudaw reported that refugees ate beans, rice, chicken, and a yogurt drink brought in from a restaurant in Erbil for Itftar before the outbreak. Children and elderly made up most of the people affected by the alleged food poisoning.
Erbil-based Dr. Hersh Qadir Barzinji told Rudaw that the symptoms included severe vomiting and dehydration, with the most critical cases taken to hospitals in Erbil and Khabat by ambulance.
Rizgar Obed, camp supervisor from the Barzani Charity Foundation, told Rudaw that officials there had originally banned outside organizations from bringing food to the camp, but they changed the regulations because they were "under great pressure."
The refugee camp was opened by UNHCR in May and has the capacity to accommodate 9,000 people, wrote Rudaw. The UNHCR said that the camp is servicing displaced people from the western Mosul where the U.S.-supported Iraqi forces have been rooting out Islamic State militants since February.
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