GENEVA — Syria's aging and war-damaged water system around the northwestern province of Aleppo is at risk of collapse after last month's massive earthquake, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned on Monday.
Some 6,000 people were killed by the Feb. 6 earthquake and aftershocks in Syria, with most of them dying in a rebel-held zone near the Turkish border.
The event also caused direct damage to water infrastructure there, reducing its effectiveness and raising the risk that contaminated water could seep in, the Geneva-based ICRC said in an emailed statement warning of a "possible collapse."
"The possibility of devastating public health consequences as a knock-on effect from the earthquake is frighteningly high," said Fabrizio Carboni, the regional director for the Near and Middle East for the ICRC.
Already, cholera has spread in parts of Syria with at least two deaths reported since the earthquake.
Many rooftop water tanks were also destroyed during the earthquake, it said, creating additional strain on the system which is already impaired after 12 years of conflict.