ASIA/SYRIA - Health Emergency: cases of plague in Homs

Homs (Agenzia Fides) - The health situation in Homs is at high risk: there have been cases of infections and bubonic plague. This is the alarm launched by a group of 20 Christian civilians living near the convent of the Jesuits, in the historic center of the city. The different areas of the center, such as Khalydye, Hamidiye and Bustan Diwan are empty after the evacuation of civilians, which occurred in past months due to the fighting between militias and rebel forces of the regular army. According to Fides sources, currently more than 80 people are scattered in various buildings, unwilling to leave their homes, despite the considerable risks. Twenty Christians live near the convent of the Jesuits in Al Moukhalless, where there is only a Jesuit. The group experiments "solidarity, spirit of brotherhood and sharing of bread." As reported to Fides, some members of the group (such as a pharmacist) indicate the serious health situation: corpses buried under the ruins, dust and dirt, stray animals, have produced visible infections concerning animals and men, with the high risk that a plague could break out in the city.
In past days, a team of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, after several negotiations with the warring parties, were able to enter the old city of Homs, bringing food aid and medicines. The two humanitarian organizations have expressed great concern for the plight of civilians. Speaking to Fides, Rabab Al-Rifai, of the team of the Red Cross in Syria, explained: "Our visit to Homs was the first authorized to a humanitarian delegation after months. It lasted a few hours but we saw the wounded, the elderly and the sick in a state of extreme necessity.
We have delivered aid and medical kits for about a hundred civilians in the area of Hamidiye, but it was not possible to make more accurate and thorough medical examinations. It is clear, however, that as time passes the humanitarian crisis worsens. " The 33 administrative districts in which the city of Homs is divided, are now under control of the rebels of the Free Syrian Army and the areas of Khalydye, Bustan Diwan, Hamidiye, Salibi, Warcheh, Bab Houd, Bab Dreib, Jouret Shiyah are areas of fighting. In other parts of the city life is slowly recovering. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2012)

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