UN warns of 'third wave' cholera epidemic in Yemen

UN warns of 'third wave' cholera epidemic in Yemen
The war-torn country has already seen over 1 million suspected cholera cases, what the UN has called "the largest outbreak on record".
2 min read
23 August, 2018
Yemeni woman with suspected case of cholera [Getty]
The UN warned on Wednesday of a possible "third wave" of the cholera epidemic in Yemen, a country that already has over 1 million suspected cases. 

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the number of cholera cases is increasing. He said over 2,300 deaths have been reported since April 2017.

Dujarric said humanitarian organisations are trying to avoid a large-scale resurgence and have vaccinated more than 385,000 people in August against the infectious disease in high-risk districts in Hodeida and Ibb governorates.

In May, nearly 275,000 people were vaccinated in Aden in southern Yemen, he said.

Cholera is caused by eating contaminated food or drinking water, and Dujarric said humanitarian organisations are continuing to support water, sanitation, hygiene and health facilities in Yemen.

Earlier this month, Saudi-led airstrikes hit water facilities and other civilian infrastructure in the port city of Hodeida, through which three quarters of Yemen's imports flow through.

The strikes damaged a sanitation facility and a station that supplies most of the city's water.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of Yemen's capital Sanaa in September 2014, and later pushed south toward the port city of Aden.

The Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in March 2015 against the Houthis and has faced criticism for a campaign of airstrikes that has killed civilians and destroyed hospitals and markets.

The Houthis, meanwhile, have laid land mines, killing and wounding civilians. They have also targeted religious minorities and imprisoned opponents. The stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 people.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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