Because of the barriers set up by the Saudi-led coalition to keep reporters and human rights activists out of the country, it can be difficult for outsiders to appreciate how bad conditions in Yemen have become. This report on Yemen’s growing cholera epidemic may give you some idea:
Oxfam’s Yemen country director, Sajjad Mohammed Sajid, meanwhile warned that the outbreak was set to be the worst this century [bold mine-DL] if there was not a massive and immediate effort to bring it under control.
“Cholera is simple to treat and prevent but while the fighting continues the task is made doubly difficult. A massive aid effort is needed now,” he said.
“Those backers of this war in Western and Middle Eastern capitals need to put pressure on parties to the fighting to agree a ceasefire to allow public health and aid workers to get on with the task.”
According to Oxfam, the epidemic is now killing one person an hour, and it continues to spread at an alarming pace. Hundreds have already died from it, and there are now more than 100,000 cases across the country. Millions of Yemenis are malnourished largely because of the blockade that is starving them, and that makes them more susceptible to disease. Damage to both infrastructure and health care facilities make it even harder to combat the spread of cholera. Yemen’s civilian population needs immediate, massive aid to combat both famine and cholera, and to do that effectively there has to be a halt to the fighting. The coalition’s patrons have the influence to pressure their clients to accept a cease-fire, and they have the means to address the humanitarian needs of the population, but so far they have shown no desire to do any of these things.