Scorpion stings chase displaced people in Idlib camps

Scorpions spread in the IDP Balioun camp near the village of Kafr Arouq in the northern countryside of Idlib - 23 June 2021 (Enab Baladi)

Scorpions spread in the IDP Balioun camp near the village of Kafr Arouq in the northern countryside of Idlib - 23 June 2021 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Idlib countryside

While Dua’a Ismail, 25, was cleaning her tent in the Kelli mountain area in the northern countryside of Idlib at the beginning of July, she felt a sting in her back, and when she directed her hand to the place of the sting, she was stung a second time in her hand, to be shocked when she sees a scorpion falling to the ground.

Immediately, Ismail killed the scorpion, but she had to wait more than an hour for her husband to take her to a clinic in the Kelli mountain area, but despite that, she did not receive treatment because it was not available.

The information department in the dispensary told them that treatment was available in the hospitals of Sarmada or Bab al-Hawa, so they returned to their camp without treatment with numbness and itching.

With the high temperatures in the summer, the displaced residents of the camps in the city of Idlib and its countryside face the problem of the spread of poisonous reptiles and insects.

Most of the camps are spread on the outskirts of the villages and in the agricultural areas, which are suitable environments for these creatures.

Umm Mustafa, 60, who lives in the IDP al-Amin camp on the outskirts of the town of Kafr Arouq, north of Idlib, was also bitten by a scorpion.

During ablution, Umm Mustafa felt a sting from a scorpion that had entered her clothes without realizing it, according to what she told Enab Baladi.

“A scorpion came out of my dress and stung me with my hand, and then I jumped on the ground and immediately killed it.” While Umm Mustafa was kneeling in prayer, another scorpion stung her in the knee area, and she did not go to any medical center because of the far distance between the camp and the medical centers.

The al-Amin camp is located in agricultural land surrounded by mountains, and Umm Mustafa is still suffering with the camp’s residents from the spread of scorpions and snakes, especially with the high temperatures.

Also, the majority of families cannot sleep comfortably for fear of being bitten by scorpions or deadly snakes in some cases.

Children face the greatest harm, as they do not realize the extent of the danger of poisonous reptiles, as many of them have been injured, with no emergency medicine or treatment in case of injury inside the camp.

Most of the time, the people resort to the Kelli hospital for serious cases, which is about seven kilometers from the IDP camp.

Lack of protection

The director of the al-Amin camp in Kafr Arouq, Ali al-Othman, told Enab Baladi that the camp administration has been suffering in the summer, for three years now, from high temperatures associated with the spread of snakes, scorpions, and poisonous spiders.

He added, “We contacted organizations several times, and the residents were only provided with a personal hygiene basket containing simple tools that do not suffice.” In July and August, cases of stings increase because the camp is surrounded by mountains, and the camp’s residents can only combat poisonous reptiles when monitoring them.

The camp director said that not choosing another land to set up the camp on is due to “the high cost of transporting luggage, and the poor financial condition of all the residents.”

There used to be a mobile clinic that visits the camp residents for one day a week, but it has been absent since the beginning of this year, despite the camp administration’s appeal to the organizations concerned to return it.

Because of the lack of medical services in the camp to confront poisonous reptiles, its residents follow self-protection methods, which is raising chickens that kill scorpions in the daytime and warn of the coming of the danger of snakes, in addition to the use of tar that helps repel scorpions, snakes and the rest of the insects on the outskirts of the tents but this material is becoming rare.

Earlier this month, the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) team warned of the bites of snakes and scorpions that are spreading in northwestern Syria.

This came after the SCD team treated a man who was stung by a scorpion in his home in the town of Qurqania, north of Idlib, to the nearest medical point to receive the antiserum.

The volunteer rescue agency called on the people to be aware of snakes and scorpions that resort to damp places in homes and tents with high temperatures, reminding the need to keep garbage away from residential gatherings and keep homes and tents clean and clean their surroundings constantly, to prevent the spread of reptiles and insects.

 

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