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Mariupol Cholera Outbreak and NGOs Advocating to End Violence Against Civilians in the DRC

June 9-15, 2022 | Issue 12 - Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2)

Megan Bilney, Alyssa Schmidt, Benjamin Maher, EMH2 Team

Manja Vitasovic, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Cholera Bacteria[1]



Date: June 10, 2022

Location: Mariupol, Ukraine

Parties involved: Russia; Ukraine; Ukrainian government; Ukraine healthcare system; Ukrainian agriculture industry; farmers; cholera sufferers; countries neighboring Ukraine

The event: The Russian bombings of Mariupol damaged critical infrastructure and limited sanitation causing a cholera outbreak. Cholera is caused by contaminated food and water, and diarrhea and dehydration are the most common symptoms.[2] The Russian shelling of food storages and targeted attacks on the agriculture facilities caused 1.16 billion USD losses to the Ukrainian agriculture industry.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Cholera sufferers will very likely seek medical attention only when symptoms become severe, likely to avoid exposure to bombing, capture, or ground attacks. The ongoing bombing and cholera outbreak will very likely strain the healthcare system, likely causing the delay in treatments. Delayed treatments will likely further contaminate food and water through increased presence of infected feces and reduced waste facilities and services, very likely increasing the cholera spread.

  • The food and agriculture facilities’ destruction will very likely hinder the supply of clean food and water. The Ukrainian government will likely seek assistance from nearby countries in food and water supply until repairing the infrastructure. The ongoing conflict will likely hinder food and water transport to the cholera-impacted area, likely increasing the mortality rates.


Date: June 14, 2022

Location: South Kivu, North Kivu, and Ituri Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Parties involved: DRC internally displaced persons (IDPs); the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC); Norwegian Refugee Council; Danish Refugee Council; Save the Children; local armed groups

The event: International NGOs, like the Norwegian Refugee Council, Danish Refugee Council, and Save the Children, are advocating to end the violence against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sixteen attacks on IDP camps in the past 12 months killed approximately 185 camp residents. The most recent attack was on June 8.

Analysis & Implications:

  • The NGOs’ raising awareness will very likely encourage increased cooperation with neighboring countries to assist IDPs relocation. Relocating IDPs from the camps will very likely require foreign aid and NGO assistance, likely including increased medical resources and personnel. Fighting between the FARDC and armed groups will very likely hinder international aid to IDPs.

  • Violence will very likely continue until relocation, likely increasing the need for medical assistance. Medical professionals will likely be at increased risk of attacks, likely requiring escorts to and in camps. The presence of security will likely deteriorate the NGOs’ work, as IDPs will unlikely trust medical personnel to help them in presence of armed individuals.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Cholera bacteria (Vibrio cholerae)” by Vaccines at Sanofi licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Cholera in Mariupol: Ruined city at risk of major cholera outbreak - UK, BBC, June 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61762787

[3] Ukraine’s besieged farmers fear war-time harvest “hell”, Reuters, June 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraines-besieged-farmers-fear-war-time-harvest-hell-2022-06-14/

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