34 dead, 2,000 sick with suspected cholera in Yemen
Thirty-four people have died of cholera-related causes and more than 2,000 have been taken ill in less than two weeks in Yemen, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.
"There have been 34 cholera-associated deaths and 2,022 cases of acute watery diarrhoea in nine governorates, including Sanaa, during the period of April 27 to May 7," a WHO official told AFP.
This is the second wave of cholera-associated deaths in a year in Yemen, where a deadly war has destroyed hospitals and left millions of people struggling to access food and clean water across the country, including the temporary capital, Aden.
According to local reports, the number of cholera cases in Sana’a, which has been under Houthi control since September 2014, has risen to 218 across various districts and four deaths have been recorded.
“The Sana’a government has cut down the salaries of the cleaning staff for almost six months from now,” UN Environment Regional Representative for Civil Society NGOs in West Asia, Tareq Hassan told The New Arab, referring to the rebel-held territory.
The spat between the government and public sector workers has had detrimental effects on the community.
There have been four confirmed deaths as a result of the outbreak of the illness.
“Local NGOs and International NGOs have raised a substantial amount of awarenss for what is happening, though awareness is not sufficient, nor is it enough,” said Tareq Hassan.
The WHO now classifies Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq.
Conflict in Yemen has escalated over the past two years, as the Saudi-backed government fights Houthi rebels for control of the impoverished country.
The United Nations, which has called Yemen "the largest humanitarian crisis in the world", estimates that more than 10,000 people have been killed since 2015 and three million displaced.
Some 17 million also lack adequate food, with one third of the country's provinces on the brink of famine.