Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I've been wondering why this hasn't happened sooner

Juan Cole reports from Arabic and Kurdish media that there is a cholera outbreak in Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah. I'm surprised it's happening up there where conditions are relatively good -- actually I'm not sure what the water supply status is in Kirkuk -- but with much of central Iraq, including the capital, lacking access to safe drinking water, cholera has seemed inevitable. With many people taking water directly from the Tigris, the probability of cholera moving south seems very high.

The Iraqi health care system is already overwhelmed, and there is simply no possibility of restoring potable water service to any significant part of the population any time soon. This could be a huge disaster. In the context of the disaster that Iraq is already, I don't know how much difference it will really make. But we have got to expect infectious disease to be a growing problem given the total collapse of infrastructure in the country.