The outbreak of cholera reported last week is rapidly spreading in Yemen:

A major epidemic of cholera is feared in Yemen, according to charity Save the Children.

Almost 250 people have died of the disease this month alone, with hundreds of suspected cases being reported every day, it says.

The World Health Organization said the water-borne illness is spreading at an alarming rate in the war-torn country.

It is important to emphasize that this epidemic would normally be preventable, but it is happening because the country’s health care system has been devastated by more than two years of the Saudi-led war, the country’s infrastructure has been so badly damaged by the conflict, and the country is being starved of basic necessities by the coalition blockade. The starvation of the country’s civilian population by the same blockade has also weakened their resistance to disease on account of widespread malnutrition and made it so that many more people will die from preventable disease. Under half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics are fully operational:

According to figures provided by the World Health Organization, fewer than 45 per cent of health facilities in Yemen were fully functioning.

Starvation and the cholera epidemic in Yemen are both man-made disasters, and none of these things had to happen. The U.S.-backed coalition bears a large share of responsibility for creating the conditions that are threatening the lives of millions from starvation and disease. There is still time to change those conditions, but it would require a sudden, dramatic change in U.S. and coalition policies that is unfortunately not likely to happen.