Yemen swept by cholera emergency, over 100 thousand cases, circa 190 victims since beginning of year

According to the UN one third of the 108,889 registered cases concern children under five. The situation is aggravated by the poor maintenance of waste disposal systems. For the experts it is the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world". 80% of the population needs assistance.


Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Since the beginning of January there have been about 110 thousand suspected cases of cholera in Yemen; with at least 190 confirmed victims. This is what emerges from a report published in recent days by the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Agency (OCHA), according to which children under the age of five represent about one third of the 108,889 official cases January 1 and March 17.

UN experts stress that the peak, which comes two years after the worst epidemic in the history of the country, is concentrated in six governorates, including the port city of Hudaydah which today is the epicenter of the conflict in the Arab country, together with the province of Sana'a.

The crisis is worsened by the heavy rains that have affected the region. "The situation is aggravated - continues the Ocha experts' note - from the poor maintenance of wastewater disposal systems in many districts". Added to this is "the use of contaminated water for irrigation and population displacement" to escape the war.

In 2017, Yemen experienced the worst cholera crisis in modern history, with over a million suspected cases in just eight months and 2500 confirmed victims between April and December.

Since March 2015 to date, this conflict has left an estimated 10 thousand dead and 55 thousand injured. Independent bodies set the toll (between January 2016 and end of July 2018) at about 50 thousand deaths. Since it only concerns the combatants, not the "indirect victims" (civilians) who have died from malnutrition or cholera.

Among the first victims there are children, who have died as a result of bombs or very serious malnutrition: at least 85,000 children under the age of five, according to various international humanitarian agencies.

For the United Nations the conflict has triggered "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world", about 24 million Yemenis (80% of the population) urgently need humanitarian assistance. Millions - but the exact number is difficult to establish - are displaced. The situation is also dramatic in terms of education: according to UNICEF, at least two million children have stopped going to school since 2015 and most of the institutions are damaged. The child soldiers are believed to number around 2500 and half of the girls get married before the age of 15.

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