06/09/2017, 09.55
YEMEN

Yemen’s cholera emergency continues: nearly 800 deaths and more than 100,000 infected

Cases were registered in 19 different provinces. WHO: Within six months up to 250,000 people affected. Oxfam: A victim every hour, nation "on the edge of precipice". Stop the war and restore channels of humanitarian aid. Epidemic spread due to poor hygienic conditions and the shortage of medical facilities.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The cholera epidemic that has hit Yemen, a nation shaken by over two years of bloody civil war, has caused at least 789 deaths and over 100,000 suspected cases of contagion, according to Tarik Jasarevic, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO). He said, "101,820 possible cancers and 789 deaths have been reported to date in 19 different provinces."

In recent days, the WHO experts had launched the alarm, speaking of a real emergency, with up to 250,000 people at risk of being infected within the next six months.

In a statement published yesterday, Oxfam Director Sajjad Mohammed Sajid pointed out that at the moment in the Arab country there is a cholera victim every hour. “Yemen - added the expert - is on the edge of a precipice" and if the international community does not intervene drastically to limit the epidemic it will end up "threatening the lives of thousands of people in the coming months." A "ceasefire" and the restoration of humanitarian assistance is essential to stopping the epidemic. The spread of cholera is being fueled by poor sanitary conditions and the shortage of medical facilities. Over half of hospitals and clinics in the country have been seriously destroyed or damaged in the conflict and are almost unusable.

Since January 2015, Yemen has been fought over in a bloody civil war pitting the country’s predominantly Sunni leadership, led by former President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by Saudi Arabia, and Shia Houthi rebels, close to Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began carrying out air strikes against the rebels, which the United Nations criticised because of the civilian casualties they provoked, including children.

So far, more than 8,000 people have died, more than 44,000 injured and 3 million displaced.

Interviewed by AsiaNews in recent days, Msgr. Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (UAE, Oman and Yemen), spoke of a "disastrous" situation. However, the prelate added, at present it is not possible to draw a complete picture of reality because "it is difficult to enter and have credible information" based on reality and not filtered by propaganda. Commenting on the very serious humanitarian emergency in the Arab country, rocked by 30 months of civil war, Msgr. Hinder called Yemen a "forgotten nation, in the face of other conflicts that seem more interesting" at a mediatic level. For this, he concluded "more attention" is needed.

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