Experts Blame Saudi Arabia Bombing for Cholera Crisis in Yemen

Published September 29th, 2017 - 06:02 GMT
Currently more than 2,100 people - 50% of whom are children - have died from the disease (AFP)
Currently more than 2,100 people - 50% of whom are children - have died from the disease (AFP)
  • Aid agencies have said that Yemen is facing the fastest growing Cholera outbreak in recorded history.
  • The country already looks set to outnumber the 753,363 cases recorded following the Haiti earthquake.
  • The outbreak comes after Saudi-led warplanes bombed hospitals and medical centers across the country.
  • Saudi Arabia's air and sea blockade is also stopping medical supplies from reaching those in need.

 

The dire outbreak of Cholera in war-ravaged Yemen looks set to become the fastest growing in history, according to aid agencies.

British charity Oxfam said that the current outbreak, which has ravaged the country since March, is set to outnumber the 754,363 Cholera cases reported following the 2010 Haiti earthquake within 10 days.

The charity predicts that the outbreak will reach one million cases by November.

Currently more than 2,100 people - 50% of whom are children - have died from the disease. Meanwhile, up to 5,000 people per day are falling ill in certain

“Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and it is getting even worse. More than two years of war have created ideal conditions for the disease to spread,” Nigel Timmins, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Director, said in a statement.

“The war has pushed the country to the edge of famine, forced millions from their homes, virtually destroyed the already weak health services and hampered efforts to respond to the cholera outbreak,”he added.


A report by London’s Queen Mary University shows that around 80% of cases have occurred in areas controlled by Houthi rebels. In such areas among every 1,000 people – is 17, compared with 10 in government-controlled governorates. The same stats also show that those who contract the illness in rebel-held areas are 50% more likely to die than those in Government-controlled neighborhoods.

The news comes following months of Saudi-led airstrikes against targets in Houthi-controlled areas including hospitals and medical centers.

Cholera, a bacterial infection, is spread by water containing contaminated feces. It can be easily prevented and easily treated.

However, less than half of the country’s medical centers are still active in the wake of the ongoing bombing.

Meanwhile medical and food supply lines have also been hampered thanks to a Saudi-led blockade on Yemen’s airspace and ports.

“Saudi-led airstrikes have destroyed vital infrastructure, including hospitals and public water systems, hit civilian areas, and displaced people into crowded and unsanitary conditions”, Jonathan Kennedy, Andrew Harmer and David McCoy, the study’s researchers, wrote in a report by London’s Queen Mary University.

Meanwhile, others have also said that the conflict, which has claims thousands of civilian lives since Saudi strikes began in 2015, is to blame for the Cholera outbreak.

“Yemen’s tragedy is a man-made catastrophe for which all sides bear responsibility. Yet it is being fuelled by deliberate political decisions in London, Washington, and other world capitals. Billions of dollars worth of arms are being sold with little if any concern for the destruction of lives their use is causing," Timmins added.


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