"We Drank from the Well": Typhoid Spreads in Besieged Damascus Suburb


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Format avi, Bitrate 4.149 mbps

September 17, 2014
Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria

In the shadow of the siege under which the population of Eastern Ghouta lives, a new crisis is unfolding: the spread Typhoid fever. The disease’s spread is most likely the result of the city's polluted drinking water, which is sourced from unfiltered water pumps.
Civilians are forced to use the pumps, as regime forces have cut off their major water supplies.

15-year-old Ahmad was recently struck with Typhoid fever. His condition deteriorated due to the unavailability of proper treatment and medicine to the point that he had to be admitted to an ICU. The doctor responsible for him discusses his case.

Mustafa, another young boy, who is currently in a better condition than Ahmad, is being treated in a field hospital.

Sound Bites:
Sound Bite 1: (Man, Arabic)
Oday Mohamad: A doctor in a field hospital:

"Ahmed is 15 year old child who is suffering from Typhus due to the polluted water that is mixed with the water of the sewer system. [The water is] used for drinking and other needs. Most patients are being treated in clinics and there are huge numbers arriving to the clinics everyday. However, Ahmed, is in the intensive care unit now, due to the effects of Typhus on his nervous system. He is fainting and his speech ability is very slow. He is being treated at the moment with the humble abilities that we have here in the hospital. We lack antibiotics and medical equipment that are used in diagnosis."

Sound Bite 2: (Man, Arabic)
Abu Ahmed, Typhus patient in a medical clinic:

"We drank from the well, unsanitary water, we had to drink this water, we do not have any other option. We do not have water, we know it is unsanitary and unclean water, but we had to drink it. We sensed that we were starting to get sick and we realized it was the symptoms of Typhus, so we came here to get treated."

Sound Bite 3: (Man, Arabic)
Mustafa: A Typhoid Patient:

"We are here in besieged Ghouta, we do not have electricity or medication. We are denied a lot of necessities, so we had to drink water from the wells, which gave us many diseases, like Typhus. There are no medications here at all and, if we find them, they would be very expensive”.

Shot List:
Various shots show water being pumped out of the well and the children taking water to their homes and shots show how unsanitary the water is.
various shots show Ahmed in the intensive care unit being treated by his doctor
Various shots show Abu Ahmed in a clinic being examined
Various shots show Mustafa in the field hospital while the doctor is examining him.