Suspected cholera cases in Yemen have been increasing at a rate of 5,000 per day, and has now breached the 200,000 mark. UNICEF and WHO said this is the worst cholera outbreak in the world.
War-torn Yemen has been engaged in civil war for two years. More than 14 million people have lost access to health, water and sanitation facilities due to damages in the systems, increasing the risk for easy transmission of diseases.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by the infection of the intestine, characterized by watery diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
UNICEF and WHO both said that cholera has spread in all governorates of the country.
“This deadly cholera outbreak is the direct consequence of two and heavy conflicts,” the agencies said in a joint statement.
Of the suspected hundred thousand cases locally, about 1,300 people have died and numbers are expected rise, with a quarter of them children.
For children, malnutrition has largely weakened their immune state.
Further compounding the problem is the unpaid salaries of around 30,000 local health workers directly at the forefront of the problem. They have not received their salaries for nearly 10 months.
CDC, meanwhile, noted that 100,000 deaths from 2 to 5 million global cases from cholera occur annually.
“UNICEF, WHO and our partners are racing to stop the acceleration of this deadly outbreak. We are working around the clock to detect and track the spread of disease and to reach people with clean water, adequate sanitation and medical treatment,” the agencies said.
Response teams have deployed trying to reach families with information on preventive measures.
Preventive measures usually include frequent hand-washing with soap or alcohol-based cleaner, avoidance of raw or undercooked meals, disposal of excrement in sanitary ways to prevent contamination, and access to safe drinking water.
The WHO has set-up 144 diarrhoea treatment centres in affected areas and 206 oral rehydration points, as well as prepared 1,900 beds for patients in 20 governorates. The agencies need USD 66.7 million to strengthen its response.
“We urge all authorities inside the country to pay these salaries and, above all, we call on all parties to end this devastating conflict,” the agencies urged. MIMS
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Martina C, 30 Jun 2017