Cholera outbreak claims more than 2,000 lives in Yemen

Published 03.10.2017 20:07

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded at least 2,134 cholera-related deaths in war-torn Yemen since April. In a statement released yesterday, the WHO said whopping 777,229 suspected cases of cholera have been registered in the country over the past months.

The U.N. agency said the northwestern Hajjah province has recorded the highest death toll-almost 400 fatalities, while Socotra province, a small four-island archipelago in the Arabian Sea, was the only part the country that remained unaffected by the epidemic.

The suffering of Yemenis has "relentlessly intensified," with 17 million who don't know where their next meal is coming from, nearly 7 million at risk of famine and nearly 16 million lacking access to water or sanitation, O'Brien said.

With a shattered healthcare system, Yemen is not able to cope with a major cholera outbreak that is now killing more people than the country's ongoing war. The cholera outbreak has wiped out the wreckage of what once the Yemeni healthcare system. With the rainy season approaching, there is a risk that cholera - which already kills more people every month than the violence itself - will multiply even faster, the U.N. warned earlier. The collapse of Yemen's infrastructure after more than two years of war between the Saudi-backed government and Iran-backed Houthis rebels who control the capital Sanaa has allowed the country's cholera epidemic to swell to the largest in the world. The WHO warned that the disease had spread rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, with millions of people cut off from clean water across the country.

The WHO said that it and its partners were "working around the clock" to support the national efforts to halt the outbreak, adding that more than 99 percent of people who contract cholera in Yemen can survive if they can access health services. More than 15 million people in the country have no access to basic healthcare.

Two years of war between the Houthis and government forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition have killed more than 8,000 people and wounded 45,000 others. According to the U.N. human rights agency, civilians account for nearly 5,000 of the recorded deaths and more than 8,500 of the injuries.

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