Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Red Cross: Cholera death toll in Yemen reaches at least 180

Ben Pena | 15 May, 2017, 22:31

Yemen, the impoverished Arab country in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, has been involved in a civil war since two years ago.

It is estimated that 17 million people are at imminent risk of starvation in Yemen, and the United Nations says three million malnourished children are in "grave peril".

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier put the death toll at 51.

The UN recently warned that Yemen, together with parts of Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan, is facing a devastating starvation crisis, resulting from ongoing armed conflicts.

It declared a "state of health emergency in the capital", the agency said.

"This declaration came after the cholera epidemic spreads across the capital's districts and neighborhoods", the health ministry said in a statement cited by Saba.

"The number of infected cases has exceeded the normal rates and the health system cannot cope with this unprecedented health disaster, in which the number of infected patients has increased to 2,567 during the past two weeks", said the ministry.

Hafid bin Salem Mohammed, the rebel health minister, said the "scale of the disease is beyond the capacity" of his department, in a statement on Houthi-run Al Masira television.

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The ministry, after meeting in Sanaa with UN Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick and other global officials, called on worldwide humanitarian organizations and aid donors to help it avert an "unprecedented disaster".

The acute diarrhoeal disease can be fatal within hours if left untreated. More than 10,000 people have been killed, mostly by almost-daily air strikes, since the fighting began.

A cholera epidemic in Yemen late previous year subsided but outbreaks are becoming more frequent.

People infected with cholera lie on beds at a hospital in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, May 14, 2017.

The figures cover the period of April 27 to date, an ICRC spokesperson told AFP.

Global relief agencies have collectively warned of a catastrophic humanitarian situation.

Doctors without Borders (MSF) expressed fears that health authorities alone will not be able to deal with the outbreak.

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