A cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen has now surpassed 300,000 suspected cases and claimed more than 1,600 lives, the Red Cross said Monday.
"#Yemen's cholera epidemic continues to spiral out of control. Today, over 300,000 people are suspected to be ill. More than 1,600 have died," it said in a tweet.
"Disturbing. We're at 300k+ suspected cases with ~7k new cases/day," ICRC regional director Robert Mardini said in a tweet.
The World Health Organization has said there were 297,438 suspected cases and 1,706 deaths by July 7, but it did not publish a daily update on Sunday, when the 300,000 mark looked set to be reached. A WHO spokesman said the figures were still being analyzed by Yemen's health ministry.
Although the daily growth rate in the overall number of cases has halved to just over 2 percent in recent weeks and the spread of the disease has slowed in the worst-hit regions, outbreaks in other areas have grown rapidly.
The most intense impact has been in areas in the west of the country which have been fiercely contested in the two-year war between a Saudi-led coalition and armed Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.
The war has been a breeding ground for the disease, which spreads by feces getting into food or water and thrives in places with poor sanitation.
In the past week a first few cases have appeared in Sayun city and Mukalla port in Hadramawt region in the east.
Yemen's economic collapse means 30,000 health workers have not been paid for more than 10 months, so the U.N. has stepped in with "incentive" payments to get them involved in an emergency campaign to fight the disease.