Medical > Health

Yemen Declares Emergency over Cholera Outbreak

Disease is reported to have struck nearly 9,000 people, with 115 deaths so far.

Authorities in Yemen have declared a state of emergency after an outbreak of Cholera has caused at least 115 deaths in the capital city of Sanaa. Yemen authorities are requesting international aid to cope with the epidemic and avert a broader medical disaster.

Politics complicates the relief effort. Sanaa is under the control of Houthi, a military movement that is aligned with Iran. Houthi is engaged in an armed conflict with a Saudi-led coalition that is backed by the West. The conflict has caused more than 10,000 deaths in two years of fighting. Millions have lost their homes, and the country has lost much of its critical infrastructure.

Only a handful of medical facilities are in operation, the United Nations has said, and two-thirds of Yemenis lack access to water that is safe to drink.

"What is happening today exceeds the capabilities of any healthy health system, so how can we (cope) when we are in these difficult and complicated conditions?" asked Houthi health minister Mohammed Salem bin Hafeedh.

Yemeni officials met U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick in Sanaa, which has been hard-hit by cholera, and called upon donors and aid organizations to help solve the crises before it becomes an "unprecedented disaster."

A Yemen news organization reports that 8,595 suspected cases of cholera were reported in Sanaa and other Yemeni provinces between April 27 and May 13. The disease, which can be fatal within hours if left untreated, has claimed 115 lives so far.

 

The World Health Organization said that 7.6 million Yemenis live at high risk of contracting cholera. According to the United Nations, 17 million of Yemen's 26 million people lack adequate food and at least three million children are in "grave peril" due to malnutrition.