Yemen’s Cholera Outbreak May Have Reached Halfway Point at 218,000 Cases

Published June 28th, 2017 - 07:00 GMT
A victim of Yemen's two-month-long cholera outbreak (file photo)
A victim of Yemen's two-month-long cholera outbreak (file photo)

The World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that Cholera-stricken Yemen that had lost 1,400 patients over the span of two short months have shown relatively receding figures with death rates being cut to half.

A major cholera outbreak in Yemen may have reached the halfway mark at 218,798 cases as a massive emergency response has begun to curb its spread two months into the epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

The collapse of Yemen’s infrastructure after more than two years of civil war made for a “perfect storm for cholera,” the WHO’s senior emergency Adviser for Yemen, Ahmed Zouiten, said.

But fatality rates have dropped from 1.7 percent in early May to 0.6 percent, he added.

He attributed the fall to emergency intervention by health workers.

Reported cases of cholera have also dropped in recent days with 39,000 over the past week compared with an average of 41,000 in previous weeks.

But Zouiten cautioned that the decline in numbers might be due to under-reporting over the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

He said the total number of cases could still double before the outbreak ends.

The United Nations has warned 300,000 people could contract the highly contagious infection by September.

Hospitals have struggled to cope with the outbreak. The war has left less than half of the impoverished country’s medical facilities functional.

It has also pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, with some 17 million people — two-thirds of the population — uncertain of where their next meal will come from, according to the World Food Programme.

More so, the UN food agency’s director urged the European Union on Monday to help raise the $1 billion needed over the next few months to save hundreds of thousands of children from starving to death in Yemen and three African countries.

In an interview with AFP, World Food Programme Director David Beasley said 20 million people were “on the brink of famine” in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria in the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945.

“I’m here to appeal to the goodness of some of the wealthiest nations on the face of the planet to please continue to step up at a time such as this,” Beasley said after meeting EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“I want the United States to contribute more, the EU to contribute more,” he said.

He appealed to wealthy EU countries like Britain, Germany and especially France to send more aid, saying Paris was contributing too little at $30 million.


Copyright © Saudi Research and Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

You may also like