07/13/2017, 10.18

UN: fighting parties and foreign allies to blame for deadly cholera epidemic

UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs speaks of "scandal" caused "entirely by man". The belligerents and those who support them too, "direct, supply, fight and perpetrate" violence. Contagious cases have risen to 320,000, at least 1740 casualties. 250 million dollars needed to deal with the emergency, so far only 47 collected.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Fighting parties in Yemen - and the foreign powers that support them - are co-responsible for the most serious cholera epidemic to date in the Arab country, the worst in the world according to the WHO. The United Nations representative for Yemen has said that conflict and chronic lack of food and basic necessities, including medicines, are the number one cause of the disease that has hit over 320,000 people so far

Speaking to the UN Security Council, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien, said that "this cholera scandal is entirely caused by man". He then pointed his finger at "the parties in the fight and those who, beyond the Yemen border, direct, supply, fight, and perpetrate fear and armed struggle." The humanitarian crisis, then continued by the expert, "is the direct result of the conflict and serious violations of international law." To date, more than 320,000 cholera infections are reported in the Arab country, which has now spread to almost all provinces. The victims are at least 1740, but the numbers are growing rapidly.

Special UN Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed terms  the ongoing humanitarian crisis "horrible". He estimates that the country does not have to face "a single emergency, but several very complex emergencies".

The United Nations loudly invokes at least $ 250 million to tackle the emergency. So far 47 have been collected.

UN experts confirm the alarm launched recently by AsiaNews by Mgr. Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (UAE, Oman and Yemen). The prelate had spoken of a "disastrous" situation in one of the poorest countries in the region and on the brink of collapse, plagued by epidemics, chronic war and famine.

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.

To date, more than 8,000 people have died, more than 44,000 have been injured and 3 million displaced. Nearly 19 million people (out of 24 in total) are in need of varying degrees of humanitarian assistance. Of these, at least seven million are considered at the brink of famine. Among them, 2.3 million are "malnourished" children less than five years old. (DS)

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