Home Health Yemen Cholera Outbreak: Number of Cases Passes 300,000

Yemen Cholera Outbreak: Number of Cases Passes 300,000

The number of Yemen cholera cases has passed 300,000 in the past 10 weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

The situation has continued to “spiral out of control”, with about 7,000 new cases every day, the ICRC warned.

According to the UN, more than 1,700 associated deaths have been reported,.

Yemen’s health, water and sanitation systems are collapsing after two years of conflict between pro-government forces and the rebel Houthi movement.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera.

Most of those infected will have no or mild symptoms but, in severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

Image source Al Jazeera

On June 24, the WHO declared that Yemen was facing “the worst cholera outbreak in the world”, with more than 200,000 suspected cases.

Yemen Cholera Outbreak: Number of Suspected Cases Exceeds 200,000

In just over two weeks, another 100,000 people have been infected – an increase the ICRC’s Middle East regional director Roberto Mardini called “disturbing”.

On July 8, the WHO said that 297,438 cases had been recorded, but the agency was still analyzing the latest figures from the Yemeni health ministry on Monday.

The outbreak has affected all but one of Yemen’s 23 provinces. The four most affected provinces – Sanaa, Hudaydah, Hajja and Amran – have reported almost half of the cases.

UN agencies say the outbreak is the direct consequence of the civil war, with 14.5 million people cut off from regular access to clean water and sanitation.

More than half of health facilities are no longer functioning, with almost 300 having been damaged or destroyed, and some 30,000 local health workers who are key to dealing with the outbreak have not been paid for 10 months.

Rising rates of malnutrition have weakened the health of vulnerable people – above all children under the age of 15 and the elderly – and made them more vulnerable to the disease.

Last week, the UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator in Yemen warned that humanitarian organizations had been forced to divert resources away from combating malnutrition to deal with the cholera outbreak, raising the risk of a famine.