Saudi Arabia pledges $11 million to Yemen cholera outbreak it helped create

Saudi Arabia pledges $11 million to Yemen cholera outbreak it helped create
Saudi Arabia has pledged $11 million to help the World Health Organisation respond to Yemen's cholera crisis - a deadly epidemic resulting from the kingdom's intervention in the country.
2 min read
21 February, 2018
Yemen's cholera outbreak has caused at least 2,250 deaths [Getty]
Saudi Arabia has pledged $11 million to tackle the cholera epidemic in Yemen - the worst outbreak of the disease in recent history, stemming from the kingdom's military intervention in the country.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have agreed three new projects to "enhance cholera response and control" in the country, where more than one million people have been infected and 2,250 people have died from the waterborne disease.

"This new fund will allow WHO to build on the interventions and concerted efforts already made last year to control cholera outbreak and prevent potential future outbreaks," said Dr Nevio Zagaria, WHO representative in Yemen. 

"These three projects will focus on three key elements required to control the disease - diagnosis, prevention and monitoring."

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of Arab states against Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who overran Yemen's capital and forced the internationally-recognised government into exile.

The kingdom has faced mounting international criticism of its bombing campaign due to its devastating toll on Yemen's civilian population and the collapse of the country's infrastructure which has pushed 8.4 million to the brink of famine. 

The UN has called Yemen the "world's worst humanitarian crisis". 

Since April 2017 to February 2018, more than 1,060,000 suspected cases of cholera and 2,250 deaths have been reported in Yemen, WHO said, making it the biggest cholera outbreak in recent history.

The man-made humanitarian catastrophe has also been exacerbated by Saudi Arabia's restrictions on Yemen's air, sea and land ports, which have hindered the flow of food and medical supplies to the country's most needy.

The kingdom has allocated nearly $57 billion for military spending in 2018, though how much is spent on Yemen has not been specified.

Last month the UN made a record $3 billion appeal for aid to save Yemen.