Seized by violence and already on the edge of famine, Yemen is struggling with another danger that threatens to outpace them both, a cholera outbreak. The UN health agency states that there are now more than 200000 suspected cases of cholera in an outbreak in war-torn Yemen, many of them children.
UNICEF director Anthony Lake and World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan said in a statement Saturday, “we are now facing the worst outbreak in the world,” with an average of 5000 new cases every day. The agencies say that more than 1300 people have died, of which one quarter of them children, and the death toll is expected to rise.
The UN says collapsing health, water and sanitation systems have cut off 14.5 million people from regular access to clean water and sanitation, increasing the ability of the disease to spread.
The country has been roiled by violence since Houthi rebels seized power and ousted the president, who fled to neighboring Saudi Arabia. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition supported by the US has waged a protracted campaign against the rebels and some worry that support makes the US complicit in Yemen’s deepening humanitarian crisis.
In addition, an estimated 30,000 local health workers have not been paid for nearly 10 months according to a Washigton Post report.
Source: UN /WP