Yemen’s New Cholera Outbreak Keeps Spreading
Reuters reports on the continued spread of Yemen’s new cholera outbreak:
The World Health Organization said last week that Yemen had seen more than 724,000 suspected cholera cases and 1,135 deaths this year, but that case numbers had stabilized in recent weeks.
In the clinic, limp children’s faces are covered with flies and their chests heave as they breathe while receiving intravenous fluid tubes in their feet and wrists.
The recent influx means some patients are forced to lie on the floor and the center has run out of some medicines.
Nearly three-quarters of a million Yemenis have contracted cholera in 2019 alone. The outbreak has spread much more rapidly than it did last year, and it is easily on pace to exceed the number of cases from 2017 when more than a million people were affected. In just the last two months, the number of cases has jumped up dramatically. When I wrote about this at the end of April, the figure was approximately 230,000. In late March, that number was 110,000. Fortunately, relief agencies have made some headway in getting the outbreak under control, but with deteriorating humanitarian conditions and ongoing conflict much of the population will continue to be at risk from what is normally a preventable disease.
18 million Yemenis lack access to clean water, and conditions are particularly bad for the more than 3 million internally displaced people that have been driven from their homes by the war:
Dr Abdelwahab al-Moayad said Yemen’s internally displaced were particularly at risk.
“The number of cases are increasing by the day and if it continues we would consider it a humanitarian disaster,” he said.
Yemen still suffers from multiple, massive, overlapping humanitarian disasters, of which the world’s largest cholera outbreak is only one. The people of Yemen urgently need peace, a major relief effort, and economic stabilization. The world’s worst humanitarian crisis has not abated, but instead grows worse every day that the Saudi coalition continues its campaign with U.S. support.