ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The period between when the food was cooked and then transported to the IDP camps resulted in the food poisoning of over 825 displaced persons from Mosul in southwestern Erbil.
On June 12, a group of volunteers prepared the food in Erbil and then transferred it to the camp in the afternoon as part of a charitable initiative.
Hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Hassan Sham and U2 camp got food poisoning after consuming the meals.
They were immediately transferred to hospitals in Erbil and received necessary treatment.
“After we carried out an investigation of the case, we found out the cause of the food poisoning was due to the long period between preparing and consuming the food as it was packed in plastic containers and transferred to the camps,” Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi said on Monday in a press conference.
“There were no deliberate intentions to poison IDPs by those who cooked the food,” he added.
“The food itself was okay, but the delay between the preparation of the meals and their distribution, along with the improper storing of the food, was the reason hundreds of IDPs became ill,” Hadi emphasized, stating the case had been sent to court.
The Governor previously mentioned the food was cooked at 9:00 a.m. then transferred to the camp at 1:00 p.m. The food was later distributed between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.
Following the incident, seven people were arrested, six from the restaurant where the meals were prepared and one from a charity organization.
The restaurant was also closed, Erbil police previously informed.
Hadi noted the food should be prepared at the camps and that premade meals are forbidden.
He thanked the Peshmerga and security members for quickly transporting 638 IDPs to hospitals in Erbil to receive prompt medical treatment, while the remaining were treated at the camps.
The Erbil Health Department’s Director-General Saman Hussein Barzinjy told Kurdistan24 the group which delivered the donation did not take into consideration health hazards related to food preparation and distribution.
At the time, Barzinjy mentioned one of the camp’s inhabitants had died from food poisoning.
However, a statement released on Tuesday apologized for the misinformation, assuring no one had died, adding the condition of the child who was thought dead was “stable.”
The Kurdistan Region is home to almost two million IDPs and refugees who fled from the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany