06/26/2017, 09.29
YEMEN - UN

UN says Yemen caught in worst cholera epidemic in the world

A joint note by Unicef ​​and WHO experts. Suspected cases exceeded 200,000, victims over 1300; Of these, a quarter were children. There are 5,000 new cases per day. Almost 19 million people out of 28 million need assistance. Seven million are at the brink of famine. The health system has collapsed, endangering the supply of drinking water.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The world’s worst cholera epidemic is unfolding in Yemen, with a number of suspected cases that exceeded 200,000, says a joint note by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The situation in the Arab country theater for over two and a half years of a bloody conflict is becoming more and more serious. To date more than 1300 people have died because of the disease. Of these, at least a quarter were children. According to experts, the number of victims is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

The two agencies are doing everything possible to block the spread of the epidemic. "We are facing - the statement says - the worst cholera epidemic in the world."  UN experts confirm the alarm launched recently by Msgr. Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (UAE, Oman and Yemen). The prelate had spoken of a "disastrous" situation in the country, plagued by epidemics, war and chronic famine.

Over the last period, United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations have stepped up efforts by setting up rapid response teams to explain to citizens how to deal with the emergency and preserve drinking water. However, water supplies are becoming increasingly scarce and there is a danger that they will run out in the near future.

Since January 2015, the Gulf nation is the scene of a bloody internal conflict that sees the Sunni leadership of 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.

Out of a total of 28 million, the conflict also left up to 18.8 million people in need of assistance and humanitarian aid to survive. Of these, at least seven million are considered on the brink of famine.

The water and sanitation system is now collapsing. The war has destroyed more than half of the structures and still functioning hospitals are overcrowded. Lack of food has generated widespread malnutrition, which favors the spread of cholera in particular among children. "In just two months - concludes UNICEF and WHO - cholera has spread to almost all governatorates of this nation in war, with an estimated 5,000 new cases per day.

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