Suspected cholera cases have nearly tripled in the past three months in Hodeida, the Yemeni port city on the front line between a pro-government alliance and rebels, Save the Children said yesterday. "Health facilities supported by Save the Children across [Hodeida] governorate recorded a 170 percent increase in the number of suspected cholera cases, from 497 in June to 1,342 in August," a report by the London-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) said.
In late July, "airstrikes resulted in the damage of a sanitation facility and water station that supplies Hodeida with most of its water," the report said. "After this incident, suspected cholera cases almost doubled" between July and August in health centers supported by the NGO, it said. The United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Yemen faces a third cholera epidemic as autumn rains have increased the risk of infection. Yemen has already been hit by two major cholera outbreaks in the past two years.
The WHO says 2,451 people have died of cholera across Yemen since April 2017, while more than one million suspected cases were reported during the same period. More than 120,000 suspected cases were reported between January and mid-August 2018, according to the U.N., as a pro-government military coalition led by Saudi Arabia battles Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The coalition launched a major operation to retake Hodeida from the rebels in June, which was put on hold for 11 weeks as the U.N. struggled to bring warring parties to peace talks in Geneva. But the talks failed to get off the ground after the Houthis refused to attend over what they said was the U.N.'s failure to guarantee a safe return to Sanaa.
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