ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The director of Erbil health department has issued an apology for spreading “incorrect” statements regarding the death of a child due to food poisoning in a camp for the displaced people from Mosul on Monday.
Dr. Saman Barzinji has told Rudaw that after they conducted a follow up to the case, they realized that the child though suffered “total collapse, and shock and was highly dehydrated,” he survived the food poisoning and is now alive.
Barzinji himself announced the news on Monday night about the death and of some 800 people who suffered food poisoning in Hassan Sham U2 Camp, some 30 km east of Mosul for displaced people from the western side of Mosul.
He said he was initially told by the field doctors that the child is dead, and therefore he also announced the death, but that they also continued to do a follow up to check whether it actually happened.
“Unfortunately this news was incorrectly conveyed, and we apologize for this,” Barzinji said, adding that because of the mayhem, the doctor who first checked the child did not have sufficient time to check the child thoroughly.
The field doctor had checked the child, Barzinji said, and concluded that the child did not have a pulse, and that his heart was not beating.
The follow-up, however, showed that he was alive, but that he had passed out, Dr Barzinji added.
Health officials announced Monday night that at least 800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mosul in Hassan Sham U2 camp were suffering from food poisoning after a charity delivered food from an Erbil restaurant.
Monday evening, a Qatari charity organization brought Iftar dinner for 2,000 IDPs breaking their Ramadan fast in the camp.
Rizgar Obed, camp supervisor from the Barzani Charity Foundation, told Rudaw that between 800 and 900 people were affected.
The patients were treated in three different locations, including Khabat Hospital, the closest hospital to the camp, about 30 km west of Erbil.
The food was beans, rice, chicken, and a yogurt drink brought from a restaurant in Erbil. Most of those affected were children and elderly, complaining of vomiting and stomachache.
Dr Hersh Qadir Barzinji in Erbil who treated some of the patients told Rudaw that the symptoms included severe vomiting and dehydration.
Obed said that they had previously banned outside organizations from bringing food to the camp , but that they changed the regulations after they were "under great pressure."
Nabaz Abdulhamid, Erbil mayor, told Rudaw that the restaurant owner has been arrested after the incident.
Forty ambulances were dispatched to the camp to transfer those affected to nearby hospitals in Khabat and in Erbil hospital.
Governor Nawzad Hadi said that the food was takeaway from the restaurant, though the regulations are that any food should be cooked inside the camp where there are big kitchens.
The camp was opened by the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, in May. It is some 30 km east of Mosul and has the capacity to accommodate 9,000 people.
The UNHCR opened the came to receive displaced people from the western Mosul, where the Iraqi forces have been fighting against ISIS militants since February.
According to the US-led anti-ISIS global coalition ISIS is besieged in the last 4 square-kilometers in the city's west, including Old Mosul where the ISIS leader declared his so-called Islamic caliphate.