Save the Children reports on the latest developments in Yemen’s new cholera outbreak:
More than 100,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported among children under the age of 15 in Yemen since the start of the year – more than twice the number during the same period in 2018.
Children account for close to half (45%) of all the new cases. Altogether there were 236,550 cases of suspected cholera between 1st January and 19th April 2019. Of these, 105,384 were in children under 15. Almost half these cases were recorded in the last month alone – nine times as many as in the same time period last year.
This year’s cholera outbreak in Yemen shows no signs of stopping, and in just the first four months of the year it has spread rapidly to affect almost a quarter of a million people. This outbreak comes on top of the more than one million suspected cases in 2017, and aid agencies fear that this outbreak could be even worse than that one was. As the report says, the number of suspected cases of cholera has shot up quickly in just the last month. When I wrote about the new outbreak one month ago, there were only 110,000, and we can see that this has more than doubled in just a few weeks. Just ten days ago, Oxfam was reporting 195,000 cases, so it appears there have been an additional 40,000 in the last week and a half. Young children are at greatest risk, and widespread malnutrition of millions of children puts them at heightened risk of contracting and dying from the disease.
The conditions created by the war and the Saudi coalition’s policies are allowing an otherwise preventable, treatable disease to rage across Yemen. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis has not abated in the slightest. On the contrary, it shows many signs of getting much worse in the months ahead if there is not an urgent and persistent effort to rein in all warring parties, including and especially the Saudi coalition, and a massive relief effort to avert the many thousands of preventable deaths from hunger and disease that will occur otherwise. Unfortunately, Yemen’s crisis has once again vanished from most of our media coverage, and the governments most responsible for creating that crisis continue to wreck and starve the country with impunity. Opponents of U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen must keep up the pressure on the administration and the Saudi and Emirati governments to stop destroying the country and killing its people.