Sunday, July 02, 2017

Cholera death toll rises to 1,500 in war-torn Yemen: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said here on Saturday that a cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen has killed 1,500 people since late April.

The suspected cases have reached 246,000 as the epidemic has hit 21 out of the 23 provinces in the country, Dr. Nevio Zagaria, the chief of WHO, said in a press conference.

Meanwhile, Sherin Varkey, acting representative of the United nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), said during the joint press conference that one in four of the dead are children.

The death toll has increased by 100 and suspected cases by nearly 28,000 in just four days after a Wednesday's report by WHO, where it put the death toll at 1,400 and suspected cases at 218,798.

Since April 27, the cholera cases in Yemen have been "increasing at an average of 5,000 a day," said WHO. "We are now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world."

More than three years into war, Yemen is facing a total collapse, where two thirds of the total population, around 19 million, need humanitarian aid. About 10.3 million people are at risk of famine and 14.5 million lack access to safe drinking water.

Fewer than 45 percent of the country's hospitals are operational, but even the operational ones are coping with huge challenges, especially the lack of medications, medical equipment and staff.

The blockade on Yemen, as part of a Saudi-led bombing campaign launched in March 2015, has deepened the crisis in the country which used to import most of its basic needs.

The war has pit the Iranian-allied Shiite Houthi rebel movement against a Sunni Saudi-led military coalition, after Houthis toppled Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government in late 2014.

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