The food they ate was part of the iftar meal
A mass food poisoning at a camp for displaced Iraqi civilians outside Mosul has left at least two dead and hundreds requiring urgent treatment, the UN and Iraqi officials said Tuesday.
“There are 752 cases of food poisoning and two deaths, a woman and a child” at the Hasansham camp after a meal on Monday night, health ministry spokesman Seif al-Badr told AFP.
UN migration agency spokesman Joel Millman confirmed those details to reporters in Geneva, while adding that 312 people had been hospitalised.
The food they ate was part of the iftar meal, which breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
The meal included rice, yogurt, chicken and soup and had been purchased from an area restaurant by a Qatar-based civil society group reportedly working to help displaced people in the region, said Millman of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Badr and UN officials said there would be further investigations.
The outbreak occurred at Hasansham, one of the many camps dotting the region around Mosul, where Iraqi forces are battling the Islamic State group.
More than 800,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since a massive operation against the jihadists in one of their last strongholds in Iraq was launched in October 2016.
Many of them live in overcrowded camps, where soaring summer temperatures are compounding the difficulties faced by the government and the United Nations in maintaining acceptable living conditions.
UN refugee agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic said staff in the area had worked through the night in response to the “massive” poisoning.
“More water has been now provided at the camp and additional health agencies have been brought in to help with the response,” Mahecic told the same news conference in Geneva.
“It is tragic this is happened to people who have already gone through so much suffering,” said the UNHCR spokesman.