Yemen’s Cholera Epidemic Is the Worst on Record
Oxfam reports that Yemen’s cholera epidemic is now the worst on record:
Yemen is suffering from the world’s largest cholera epidemic on record, Oxfam said on Friday morning.
The organisation documented more than 360,000 suspected cases of cholera in a three-month period, topping Haiti’s 340,000 cases after an earthquake in 2011.
Oxfam said that 2,000 people have died from the disease since the start of the outbreak in April.
“It is quite frankly staggering that in just three months more people in Yemen have contracted cholera than any country has suffered in a single year since modern records began,” said Nigel Timmins, Oxfam’s humanitarian director.
Yemen’s multiple, overlapping crises daily grow worse. Widespread malnutrition and near-famine conditions make the population vulnerable to preventable disease, and those conditions continue to worsen as the coalition blockade continues and the coalition refuses to allow new cranes to be brought in to the port of Hodeidah after their bombing campaign destroyed or damaged the old ones. The spread of preventable disease has been hastened by collapsing public services and lack of clean drinking water, and the delivery of needed treatments is made difficult or impossible because of the devastated health care system and ruined infrastructure. Ten days ago, there were over 300,000 suspected cases of cholera, and now there are more than 360,000. There will be many more tens of thousands of cases by the end of the month, and potentially a hundred thousand more beyond that in another month if things continue as they have.
Both famine and disease could still be halted if there were an emergency international response to combat these disasters, but it would require a drastic about-face from the U.S. and its clients and a dramatic increase in funding for relief efforts. The alarms about Yemen’s crises have been blaring for years, and very few have paid any attention. If there is not a major response to these disasters soon, it will be too late for countless victims of starvation and disease.
It is no wonder that the coalition bars journalists from flying to Sanaa on U.N. flights, because they want as few witnesses to what they have done to Yemen getting word out to the rest of the world. Yemen’s multiple crises are all man-made, and they have combined to create the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. The Saudi-led coalition and its Western patrons are among the chief authors of nightmarish conditions that threaten the lives of millions of innocent civilians.