The torrential downpour that marked the arrival
of the fall in Yerevan last week caused unexpected
health danger to thousands of the city's residents.
Rain streams damaged the shabby pipes of drinking
water and sewage with the result that on Sunday
morning the residents of Arabkir and part of the
Kentron (Center) communities of Yerevan received
a blend of sewage and drinking water in their
So far, 78 people including 60 children have
been hospitalized with stomach infections at the
Nork Hospital for Infectious Diseases, after drinking
the sewage water.
"The health condition of all patients including
children is stable," says Ara Asoyan, director
of the hospital. "The primary diagnosis is
the enteric infection of the middle stage. However
the final results will be clear within 72 hours,
when all analyses are completed."
Officials at the Health Ministry invited journalists
to a press conference on Wednesday to announce
that patients suffering the effects of the contaminated
water will be treated free of charge.
The water problem raised the indignation of Yerevantsis
who have many questions and few answers. Meanwhile,
officials refrain from explaining how sewage water
made its way into residents' homes and why the
regular rain damaged the water pipes.
people mostly children have been hospitalized
with stomach infections after drinking sewage
In some buildings, residents were deprived of
drinking water for the weekend. When the water
re-appeared in their pipes it was so heavily chlorinated
that it could not be drunk.
Specialists from Yerevan Water Supply and Sewerage
JSC said the water was chlorinated to prevent
the spread of infectious diseases. They said leaks
in the pipes are being repaired and that the chlorinated
water presents no health risk.
However, doctors have been advising people to
drink only boiled water, saying the chlorinated
water, although safe from infection, is unsuitable
"The regular water supply will be restored
in Arabkir and Central communities only after
specialists give a positive result," says
Vahan Poghosyan, Head of the First Aid Department
of the Health Ministry.
"We initiated a special brigade to control
the situation. The doctors and officials of the
ministry meet every two hours to exchange information.
We sent all the collected data to the Minister
of Health, who in turn reports to the Prime-Minister,"
say that the health conditions of all patients
including the youngest ones is stable.
A 24-hour hotline was set up to provide citizens
with information and offer consultations in case
of medical need. Artavazd Vanyan, head of the
anti-epidemic department at the Health Ministry,
says that doctors in all policlinics and hospitals
have been informed of the emergency situation.
"We ask all citizens not to delay if they
have problems and to go to the policlinics. Now
the water is being inspected thoroughly and in
case of discovering infection the necessary measures
will be taken," Vanyan says.
"The first symptoms of many infectious diseases
including dysentery are giddiness and nausea.
The doctors work under an emergency regime, they
visit schools, kindergardens and citizens, especially
families with children, to examine them. The situation
is under control."
Doctors expect to receive more patients in the
days ahead, however, and do not exclude the possibility
of cases of dysentery, the incubation period of
which is 20 days.
As doctors say the disease by itself is not dangerous
if treatment by antibiotics is being taken in
Doctors at Policlinic No 8 on Baghramyan Street
say that many citizens have applied to them for
blood examinations. Most of the people standing
in line are mothers who have brought their children
Sales of bottled mineral and spring water have
soared. In several streets on Komitas Avenue in
Arabkir district, water was sold out by Tuesday.
Meanwhile, meteorologists promise more rain in
Yerevan in November.