Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Speed of Yemen cholera outbreak 'unprecedented'

In capital city ravaged by cholera, patients eat breadcrumbs Speed of Yemen cholera outbreak 'unprecedented'
Kelvin Reese | 22 May, 2017, 17:47

"The speed of the resurgence of this cholera epidemic is unprecedented", World Health Organization country representative for Yemen Nevio Zagaria told reporters in a conference call, warning that there could be as many as 250,000 cases in the country within six months.

According to United Nations officials, more than 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in the conflict to date, while more than 11 percent of the country's total population have been displaced from their homes.

The UN health agency said on Friday that a total of new 3,460 suspected cases of cholera and 20 deaths had been reported in the country in the past day alone.

The official noted that the protracted collapse of Yemen's healthcare system and economy is hampering its ability to contain the enteric infection caused by the ingestion of water or food contaminated by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium.

Save the Children on Monday warned that, at the current rate, more than 65,000 cases of cholera are expected by the end of June.

Zagaria added that numerous remaining health workers in the country had not been paid for seven months.

At the same time, he said, lacking electricity meant water pumping stations were only functioning in an intermittent way, and the sewer systems were damaged.

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A cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen is threatening to get out of control, as numbers of suspected cases have more than doubled in the past five days, a medical charity group has warned.

Last week, a state of emergency was declared in the rebel-held capital Sana'a after a large number of cholera cases were detected in the city.

Zagaria said sufferers were overwhelming Yemen's remaining hospitals, but it would be better to treat them in specialised centres, 50 of which are already operating, along with 300 oral rehydration points.

At the same time, he said there was a dire need for funding to help Yemen authorities to make the necessary infrastructure repairs.

Since March 2015, the Saudi regime has been engaged in a brutal campaign against Yemen in an attempt to reinstall Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the president who resigned and is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Latest tallies show that the war on Yemen has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more.

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