Yemen faces world's worst cholera outbreak

Yemen faces world's worst cholera outbreak

WHO says more than 1,300 people have died and as many as 300,000 could become infected by the end of August.

Yemen is facing the “world’s worst cholera outbreak”, with about 1,310 people dying due to the disease since late April, according to the World Health Organization. More than 200,000 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded in the Arabian Peninsula country and as many as 300,000 people could become infected by the end of August, Margaret Chan, WHO’s director-general, said in a statement on Saturday.

“In just two months, cholera has spread to almost every governorate of this war-torn country. Already more than 1,300 people have died – one quarter of them children – and the death toll is expected to rise,” Chan and Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director.

Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection spread through contaminated food or water. It can be fatal within hours if left untreated. Although the disease is easily treatable, doing so in Yemen, a country riven by conflict, has proved particularly difficult. The UN has placed blame on all the rival sides and their international backers for the spread of cholera, which it calls a man-made humanitarian catastrophe.

“This is because of conflict, its man- made, its very severe, the numbers are absolutely staggering, its getting worse. The cholera element in addition to all the lack of food, the lack of medical supplies is of course, primarily, one has to put that at the door of all parties to the conflict,” Stephen O’Brien, a senior UN humanitarian affairs official.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and backing Yemen’s UN-recognised government.

More than 1,300 people have died since the cholera outbreak began in April.

Two years of conflict have killed more than 10,000 people, wounded 45,000 others, and displaced more than 11 percent of the country’s 26 million people. The outbreak began last year, but a second wave of the waterborne disease has spread even quicker in the last two months.

Source: Aljazeera. Read full article.
26 June, 2017