05/15/2017, 12.04
YEMEN
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Cholera emergency in Yemen: 115 victims, over 8500 people infected

The capital Sana'a and the neighboring province of Amanat al-Semah is the epicenter of the epidemic. Poor hygiene conditions and poverty have favored the spread. WHO: Less than 45% of hospitals and clinics work full time. The war has damaged or destroyed at least 300 medical facilities.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) – A state of emergency has been declared in Yemen’s capital Sana'a, following the outbreak of a cholera epidemic that has killed dozens of people. City hospitals, controlled by Houthi rebels, are attacked by patients with symptoms of the disease. According to Red Cross sources, the total number of suspicious cases in the country tripled over a week, exceeding 8500; with at least 115 victims.

The country has long been overwhelmed by a bloody internal conflict; Precarious hygiene conditions and a widespread poverty have helped the development of epidemics.

UN experts say two-thirds of the population has no access to drinking water. Dominik Stillhart, director of operations at the International Red Cross Committee (Icrc), adds that "we are now facing a serious epidemic". "There are," he adds, "up to four patients in one bed." Others are still "in the garden" or "in the car, with the IVF attached to the window".

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the epicenter of the emergency is the capital of Sana'a, followed by the neighboring province of Amanat al-Semah. The poor conditions of healthcare facilities are aggravating the situation: WHO sources point out that "less than 45%" of hospitals, clinics and medical centers "work full-time".

At least 300 facilities have been damaged or destroyed almost completely by the fighting.

Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil war opposing the country’s Sunni elites led by former President Hadi, backed by Riyadh, and Shia Houthi rebels, who are close to Iran.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began attacking the  rebels, sparking criticism from the United Nations over heavy casualties, including many children.

So far, some 10,000 people have been killed, and at least 2.5 million have been displaced.Nearly 19 million (out of 24 in total) people are in need of humanitarian assistance in varying degrees.

Cholera is a disease that is transmitted through the use of contaminated water and food. Acute dysentery and vomiting are common symptoms. People affected may have serious conditions that, if not treated, can lead to death within a few hours. This is the second cholera epidemic in Yemen in the last year.

The WHO considers Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world, along with Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq. 

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