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A man is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen in May.
A man is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen in May.

Yemen Cholera Cases Reach 500,000

WHO says Yemen’s health system -which has suffered mightily from the conflict- is not capable of handling the epidemic

Yemen Cholera Cases Reach 500,000

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the number of cholera cases in Yemen had reached 500,000, noting that around 5,000 people are being infected with cholera daily, “and nearly 2,000 people have died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April.”
“Yemen’s cholera epidemic, currently the largest in the world, has spread rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and disruptions to the water supply across the country,” WHO noted in a statement on Monday. “Millions of people are cut off from clean water, and waste collection has ceased in major cities,” Common Dreams news website reported.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, observed that Yemen’s health system —which has suffered mightily from endless conflict and insufficient funds— is not capable of handling the epidemic.
Yemen’s health workers are operating in impossible conditions. Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water. These doctors and nurses are the backbone of the health response—without them we can do nothing in Yemen. They must be paid their wages so that they can continue to save lives.
To save lives in Yemen today “we must support the health system, especially the health workers. And we urge the Yemeni authorities —and all those in the region and elsewhere who can play a role— to find a political solution to this conflict that has already caused so much suffering. The people of Yemen cannot bear it much longer— they need peace to rebuild their lives and their country.”
Responding to the WHO announcement, Katy Wright, head of advocacy for Oxfam, called the cholera epidemic a “man-made disaster driven by national and international politics.”
Wright went on to single out two world powers —the United States and the United Kingdom— that have fueled conflict in Yemen by providing weaponry and intelligence to Saudi Arabia, which has for years been waging a relentless bombing campaign against its neighbor.
“All those fighting and backing this war need to stop fueling the madness and instead come to the peace table for the sake of civilian families in Yemen. Too many people have died, too many have lost everything they owned, too many have seen their futures put on hold, Wright concluded. “In backing this war with billions of dollars of arms sales and military support, the US and the UK are complicit in the suffering of millions of people in Yemen.”
Since March 2015, Yemen has come under heavy airstrikes by Saudi fighter jets as part of a brutal campaign against the improvised Arab country. More than 12,000 people have been killed since the start of the air raids and much of the country’s infrastructure has been ravaged in the Saudi-led airstrikes.
Highlight: Oxfam says “In backing this war with billions of dollars of arms sales and military support, the US and the UK are complicit in the suffering of millions of people in Yemen.”

 

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