12/22/2017, 10.05
YEMEN
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Red Cross: Cholera emergency continues in Yemen, over one million cases

2226 people have already died since last April. The epidemic is favored by the deterioration of sanitary conditions and the blockade imposed by the Saudis. MSF: highly resistant bacteria. Fears for a peak in the cases with the beginning of the rainy season in March. Over 80% of the population needs food, fuel, water and medicines.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The number of (suspected) cases of cholera in Yemen, where there has been a very serious epidemic defined by experts the worst in the world, has reached one million.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) denounces as many as 2226 people have died since last April.

In a message on twitter, the ICRC reports that the cholera epidemic, favoured by the deterioration of sanitary conditions, is "amplifying the suffering of a nation already trapped in a brutal war". In November the World Health Organization (WHO) announced over 2200 deaths.

In Yemen more than 80% of the population lack food, fuel, clean water and access to basic health services. The situation has been aggravated by the Saudi blockade that began in early November, which intensified the emergency.

The epidemic reached its peak at the end of June, with over 50 thousand suspected cases registered in just one week in 22 of the 23 provinces that make up the country. Since then, the number has suffered a slow but progressive decline while still remaining on alert levels. Last week, experts registered 7622 new suspected cases and a confirmed death from cholera.

However, in the face of a decline in the number of cases, the WHO experts warn of a possible new wave of cases at the beginning of the rainy season, in March. For this reason they ask Riyadh, once again, to ease restrictions on the country and guarantee the entry of aid, food and medicine.

"Vibrion - says Marc Poncin, coordinator of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) - is a highly resistant bacterium, which can survive in the water for a very long period of time". And it can spread very quickly "as soon as the situation becomes favourable".

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 of the same year, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began attacking the  rebels, sparking criticism from the United Nations over heavy casualties, including many children.

UN sources speak of almost 9 thousand deaths, of which about 60% are civilians, and 45 thousand injured. Out of a total of 28 million inhabitants, the conflict has also left up to 20 million people (out of a total of 27) in need of assistance and humanitarian aid in order to survive. Recently, even the apostolic vicar confirmed to AsiaNews the gravity of the "disaster" that is taking place.

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