Home/Daniel Larison/Yemen’s Cholera Epidemic Is ‘Spiraling Out of Control’

Yemen’s Cholera Epidemic Is ‘Spiraling Out of Control’

IRIN Photos/Flickr: Mazrak camp in the tough mountainous scrublands of Yemen's north-west border with Saudi Arabia is now home to more than 10,000 people displaced by the escalating war between the government and rebels from the Huthi clan.

Yemen’s cholera epidemic continues to spread:

A cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen is thought to have infected 300,000 people in the past 10 weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

The situation has continued to “spiral out of control”, with about 7,000 new cases every day, the ICRC warned.

More than 1,700 associated deaths have been reported, according to the UN.

Ten days ago, there were 200,000 cases reported, so just during this month the disease has spread to another hundred thousand people. More than fifty thousand of these new cases have been reported in just the last week. At the current rate, there could easily be half a million cases of cholera in another month. Conditions in Yemen demand immediate emergency aid and an urgent need to halt the fighting so that aid agencies and the overwhelmed health care system can better contain the spread of the disease.

Yemen’s civilian population was already coping with the world’s worst humanitarian disaster before this epidemic, and now they have to contend with the world’s worst outbreak of cholera. The epidemic is spreading so quickly because so much of the country’s infrastructure has been destroyed, the health care system is in tatters, and millions of Yemenis have been starved for more than two years in large part because of the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led intervention and blockade.

Many of the world’s major powers–including the U.S. and Britain–are complicit in the wrecking and starving of Yemen, or most of the rest have been disgracefully silent in the face of multiple humanitarian crises that threaten the lives of millions of innocent civilians. While there is a bit more attention being paid to the unfolding disaster, the scale and severity of Yemen’s catastrophe have been ignored by much of the outside world, and the international response continues to be woefully lacking.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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