There are now more than 700,000 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen’s epidemic:
— WHO Yemen (@WHOYemen) September 21, 2017
The cholera epidemic started exploding in April, so the current number of suspected cases works out to roughly 140,000 per month and more than 4,500 per day. There have been almost another 20,000 cases reported since my last post on Monday. Cholera is a preventable and treatable disease, so for an epidemic of this magnitude to take place today requires creating truly appalling conditions over more than two years of pointless warfare and then severely impeding aid efforts once the epidemic starts to spread. The Saudi-led coalition has been doing just that in Yemen, and the U.S. has shamefully been backing them from the start. Fortunately, the death toll remains low, but that doesn’t fully reflect the effect that the epidemic is having. Because the epidemic is using resources needed to combat famine in the same country, each new case is taking up resources that are needed to fight Yemen’s other massive humanitarian crisis. Millions of Yemenis are malnourished, and more are food insecure thanks in large part to the coalition air and sea blockade, so the epidemic could not be happening at a worse time or among a more vulnerable population. Worse still, the epidemic continues to spread and shows no signs of stopping, so the number of cases is just going to grow ever higher unless there is a major relief effort soon.