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Cablegate: Turks Worried About Cholera Outbreak Want to Provide

VZCZCXRO7726
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHAK #2483 2780842
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050842Z OCT 07 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3940
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 1036
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3377
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ANKARA 002483

SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y -- ADDED CAPTION

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM PREL TU IZ
SUBJECT: Turks worried about cholera outbreak want to provide
assistance

REF: Baghdad 02899

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see para 5.

-----------------------------------
GOT Concerned about Outbreak Spread
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) On October 1, we met with Ministry of Health Department
Head for Communicable Diseases Dr. Mehmet Ali Torunoglu to discuss
the cholera outbreak in Northern Iraq (reftel). Torunoglu said the
GOT is very concerned that cholera could spread into Turkey from
Iraq but so far no cholera cases have been reported in Turkey.
Given high volumes of large cross border traffic, the GOT has taken
several measures to lower the risk of transmission. They have set
up a 24-hour health check point at Habur gate including on-call
doctor, nurse, ambulance and equipment. If cholera is suspected,
affected persons will be held under observation until a negative
result is confirmed. So far, there haven't been any border
detentions. Also at the border, the GOT is distributing
informational leaflets and prohibiting the importation of water and
raw fruits and vegetables. Local hospitals and medical centers in
provinces bordering on Iraq have been asked to collect samples from
anyone with cholera symptoms. The GOT also has set up local
laboratories to analyze samples and has increased the chlorination
in city water for these provinces.

3. (SBU) Despite these measures, Torunoglu fears that continued hot
weather and large border trade will mean the disease likely will
lead to infections in Turkey. According to the latest information
from the WHO, there have been 11 cholera deaths; 3,000 confirmed
cases and 10,000 suspected cases in Iraq, including in Baghdad.
Torunoglu complained that WHO reports are not timely nor
sufficiently detailed. He asked for U.S. Government assistance in
obtaining more information from Iraq.

------------------------------------
GOT Assistance to Iraq Slowed by MFA
------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Torunoglu said the Health Ministry is working though its
official government channels to offer assistance to Iraq. He said
the Ministry is ready to help now and that urgent action is needed
to help contain the outbreak. He expressed frustration with the
time delays associated with official channels and asked whether the
U.S. government might have a list of what items are urgently needed
in Iraq. He said the Ministry is ready to start stockpiling and
moving goods to the border in advance of the official request from
Iraq for assistance. We understand the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC)
has begun to provide assistance to the Mosul area. The Health
Ministry's offer to join the TRC team was denied by the Turkish
Foreign Ministry which is insisting on an official government to
government agreement before action is taken.

5. (SBU) Action: Embassy would appreciate information from the
Department that can be passed to the GOT about Iraq's specific
assistance needs to contain cholera. Embassy POC is Rebecca Neff.

6. (SBU) Comment: The Health Ministry is a professional and
well-run agency that did a tremendous job during the Avian Influenza
scare last year. We believe they urgently want to help but are
being slowed by bureaucracy and MFA policy toward Iraq.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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