Cholera Strikes Yemen’s Capital
The starvation of Yemen has also been making people more vulnerable to preventable disease. This past week, there has been a large outbreak of cholera:
A state of emergency has been declared in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, after an outbreak of cholera killed scores of people.
Hospitals in the city, which is controlled by Houthi rebels, are crowded with cholera patients.
The Red Cross says the number of suspected cases in the country has tripled in a week to more than 8,500.
In addition to starving the population, the Saudi-led war has devastated Yemen’s health care system with the bombing of hospitals and the blockade that also deprives patients of needed medicine. Malnourished people are more likely to become sick, and more likely to die from their illnesses, and Yemen’s health care system is already so severely strained that it is not going to be able to cope with major outbreaks of disease.
Famine and disease will likely claim far more lives in Yemen than fighting, but these deaths have been nonetheless been caused by the war. Like the famine that threatens Yemen, outbreaks of disease like this one in the capital are a product of a senseless war that the U.S. has been helping the Saudis to wage on Yemen for over two years. Unless the war is brought to a halt and the blockade is lifted, conditions will continue to deteriorate and many more lives will be needlessly lost.
Unlike many other conflicts around the world, this is one where the U.S. has the ability to use its influence for the better and might at least limit the harm being done to the civilian population. Unfortunately, the current administration seems more interested in selling the Saudis more weapons than pressuring it to change its policies.