Cholera cases surpass 100,000, death toll hits 780 in Yemen: WHO
Iran Press TV
Thu Jun 8, 2017 12:36PM
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the number of suspected cholera cases in conflict-ridden Yemen has exceeded 100,000 in less than two months, with the death toll hitting over 780.
"To date, 101,820 suspected cholera cases and 789 deaths have been reported in 19 governorates," WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, told Reuters on Thursday.
A cholera outbreak began in Yemen on April 27. This is the second wave of the disease in the Arabian Peninsula country, where 19 million people are in need of help with food shortages and hunger spreading.
Cholera infection first became epidemic in Yemen last October and spread until December, when it dwindled.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection that is spread through contaminated food or water. It can be effectively treated with the immediate replacement of lost fluids and salts, but without treatment it can be fatal.
The WHO had earlier warned that the number of cholera cases in Yemen could hit 300,000.
Cholera killing one person almost an hour: Oxfam
Separately on Thursday, Oxfam charity organization warned that the cholera epidemic in Yemen "is killing one person nearly every hour and if not contained, will threaten the lives of thousands of people in the coming months."
It further called for "a massive aid effort and an immediate ceasefire" between Yemen's warring sides to allow aid workers to tackle the outbreak in the impoverished country.
The published numbers of those infected with cholera were probably an underestimate, it noted.
"Yemen is on the edge of an abyss. Lives hang in the balance," Oxfam's Yemen Country Director Sajjad Mohammed Sajid said, adding, "Cholera is simple to treat and prevent, but while the fighting continues, the task is made doubly difficult."
Cholera epidemic at 'unprecedented scale'
In a relevant development on Wednesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report that the rapid spread of cholera through 19 of Yemen's 23 provinces had highlighted a humanitarian catastrophe.
"Yemen is in the grip of a severe cholera epidemic of an unprecedented scale," the OCHA report read.
"Malnourished children and women, people living with other chronic health conditions and households that do not have enough to eat are now at greater risk of death as they face the 'triple threat' of conflict, famine and cholera," it added.
Yemen has been under a brutal military campaign led by Saudi Arabia for more than two years in a bid to eliminate the Houthi movement and reinstall the Riyadh-friendly former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Saudi military campaign, however, has failed to achieve its goals.
The protracted war has already killed over 12,000 Yemenis, with the US and the UK assisting the Saudis in the war on Yemen.
Last week, Saudi warplanes struck a health center treating cholera patients in Yemen's northwestern Sa'ada Province, killing and injuring an unspecified number of people.
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