WHO: Over 600,000 Infected by Cholera in Yemen

Cholera

Over 600,000 people are suffering from cholera in Yemen, announced the World Health Organization and Yemeni health ministry on Tuesday.

They revealed that the outbreak has infected 612,703 people and killed 2,048 since it began in April, and some districts are still reporting sharp rises in new cases.

The overall spread of the epidemic has slowed in the past two months, with the daily number of new suspected cases cut to around 3,000 in recent days.

However the epidemic, the most explosive on record in terms of its rapid spread, has continually confounded expectations. Soon after it began, WHO saw a worst-case scenario of 300,000 cases within six months.

But by the end of June, WHO was hoping 218,000 cases might be the halfway mark. In late July it said the spread had peaked after infecting 400,000.

Epidemics normally decline as quickly as they arise, so the peak of the disease – which is spread by contaminated food and water – should be roughly half the eventual total caseload.

But the decline in the epidemic has been bumpy, and the number of new cases rose in two of the past four weeks.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said some of the most affected areas, such as Sana’a and the governorates of Hajjah and Amran, had seen falls in the numbers of new cases.

But there had been a “sudden and significant increase” in the number of suspected cases reported from 12 districts, in the governorates of Hodeidah, Al Jawf, Al Mahwit, Ibb, Dhamar, Al Bayda and Aden.

“WHO is currently investigating the reason for this increase. A key aim of the investigation will be to determine whether the numbers are accurate and whether the spike in suspected cases is, in fact, caused by cholera or another diarrhoeal disease like rotavirus,” Jasarevic said.

Save the Children, a charity running cholera treatment centers, said last Friday that suspected cases in Hodeidah governorate had jumped by 40 percent in three weeks amid heavy rains and a heatwave, and in some districts weekly caseloads were double their previous peaks.

The United Nations has said the epidemic is man-made, driven by a civil war that has left 15.7 million people without clean water or sanitation.

Meanwhile, a new UN human rights report on Yemen said al-Qaeda’s local branch has become “operational” in the southwestern city of Taiz.

The report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, which re-convenes next week, also takes stock of the disastrous human rights situation in Yemen over much of the last three years.

The report Tuesday points to continuing human rights violations, security vacuums and recruitment of child soldiers.

Yemen’s Legitimate Government Urges Holding Emergency over Cholera Outbreak

Cairo- Yemen’s internationally-backed government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi urged that an emergency Arab League session be held for tackling the growing cholera crisis in the war-torn country.

Yemen’s Arab League Ambassador Riyad Al-Akbari delivered a letter from Yemeni Health Minister Nasser Ba’aom, to his Egyptian counterpart Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Emad Eddin Radhi, the head of the Executive Council of the Council of Arab Health Ministers.

In the letter, Ba’aom lists deteriorating humanitarian and health conditions in Yemen.

After meeting with Al-Akbari, the Head of the Executive Council of the Council of Arab Health Ministers said that he would call for an urgent meeting of the Executive Office to be in the first half of September to find out the reality of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

For his part, the Egyptian minister expressed Egypt’s readiness to provide more humanitarian and relief assistance to support Yemen to overcome the humanitarian situation.

Both sides discussed ways for strengthening and expanding the support of Arab League member states to respond in a more effective way to the cholera epidemic, which is threatening many Yemeni governorates.

Yemen’s humanitarian condition has been in a downward spiral since a coup led by Iran-allied militias took over the capital Sana’a. Erupting in 2014, the street warfare has now logged into its second year and a half of ripping Yemen further apart.

Most of the population is in need of humanitarian aid, with some seven million people on the verge of famine, according to UN reports.

At the same time, the country is witnessing a major cholera epidemic outbreak, which has killed over 2,000 people and injured more than half a million others since last April, according to statistics from the World Health Organization.

KSRelief Stresses its Impartially in Yemen

KSRelief

New York – Royal Court and Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, KSRelief, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabiah stated that the center works impartially in Yemen.

He said that the center has established a working committee composed of officials from the Saudi Ministry of Health, its Yemeni counterpart, a UNICEF official and a World Health Organization official to address the spread of cholera in Yemen.

In a joint press conference with Saudi Arabia’s permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah al-Moallimi at the UN headquarters in New York, Rabiah stressed that UN findings indicate that the cholera epidemic is less spread in areas controlled by the legitimate government. He attributed this to the refusal of the Houthi militias to provide humanitarian assistance to the hospitals under their control.

Rabiah confirmed that official statistics indicate that the mortality index in Yemen has decreased from 1.2 to 0.4 percent and the recovery rate has increased to 99 percent, which is “very significant.”

He stressed that KSRelief’s work is impartial as it works with its partners, such as the United Nations and other NGOs.

“The center has donated medical equipment and provided funds to all Yemeni areas regardless whether it is in the south or north of the country,” Rabiah said.

He participated in an informal meeting held by the Security Council on Monday at the UN headquarters under the so-called “Arya” on “the vital role of the United Nations humanitarian partners in the crisis in Yemen.”

He assured the attendees that the center was not established in the war-torn country to only fight cholera epidemic, but it has other humanitarian roles.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah al-Moallimi stressed his country’s support for UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s proposals on the Yemeni crisis.

Moallimi accused the insurgents of rejecting these proposals, which call for placing the port of Hodeidah under the supervision of the United Nations.

Yemen’s Health Minister: ‘Efforts to Address Cholera are Improving’

Riyadh- Yemen’s Minister of Public Health and Population Dr. Nasir Baoum confirmed that efforts to address the cholera epidemic in Yemen are improving, noting that the rate of recovery from the disease has amounted to 99.2 percent.

In a phone call with Asharq Al-Awsat, Baoum called on international relief organizations to distribute aid provided by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and immediately implement the environmental sanitation projects, including the provision of drinking water, stagnant water treatment and sanitation.

The Yemeni Minister questioned the reasons behind the failure of international organizations to equipping laboratories and promoting the delivery of adequate food to those infected with cholera.

“KSRelief and Kuwaiti and UAE Relief organizations have provided free treatment; however, there is a role that international organizations must play by providing medical supplies,… equipping existing laboratories and giving incentives to field workers who fight the epidemic,” Baoum told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He pointed out that the efforts to address the  cholera epidemic are improving significantly, noting that his ministry has recorded in the past two weeks only four deaths in all governorates of Yemen.

The Yemeni Ministry of Health has raised the level of alertness at health facilities because the epidemic can spread at any time, Baoum added.

The minister said that the improvement in the recovery rate is due to the intervention of the KSRelief in cooperation with the UAE Red Crescent and the Kuwaiti Relief Organization and the cooperation of other international organizations.

He stressed that what was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its latest report were the cases that visit specialty clinics and reception centers only.

“More than half a million people in Yemen have been infected with cholera since the epidemic began four months ago and 1,975 people have died,” WHO said on Monday.

Each day there are more than 5,000 new cases of the waterborne disease, which causes acute diarrhea and dehydration, in the country where the health system has collapsed after more than two years of war, it said.

“The total number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen this year hit the half a million mark on Sunday, and nearly 2,000 people have died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April,” WHO said in its statement.

“The spread of cholera has slowed significantly in some areas compared to peak levels, but the disease is still spreading fast in more recently affected districts, which are recording large numbers of cases,” it said, reporting a total of 503,484 cases.

The disease, spread by ingestion of food or water tainted with human faeces, can kill within hours if untreated. It has been largely eradicated in developed countries equipped with sanitation systems and water treatment.

Notably, Saudi Arabia, through its KSRelief, signed in early August an agreement to support WHO actions in Yemen with $33.7 million in the framework of facing the cholera epidemic in Yemen.

Cholera Count Reaches Half a Million in Yemen

New York, Geneva- Cholera is believed to have affected more than half a million people and killed 1,975 since late April, the World Health Organization said Monday.

Suspected cases of the deadly waterborne disease continue to rage across the country, infecting an estimated 5,000 people per day, a WHO overview showed.

“The total number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen this year hit the half a million mark on Sunday, and nearly 2,000 people have died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April,” the organziation said in a statement.

“The spread of cholera has slowed significantly in some areas compared to peak levels but the disease is still spreading fast in more recently affected districts, which are recording large numbers of cases.”

Yemen’s cholera epidemic, currently the largest in the world, has spread rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and disruptions to the water supply across the country. Millions of people are cut off from clean water, and waste collection has ceased in major cities.

A collapsing health system is struggling to cope, with more than half of all health facilities closed due to damage, destruction or lack of funds. Shortages in medicines and supplies are persistent and widespread and 30,000 critical health workers have not been paid salaries in nearly a year.

The “doctors and nurses are the backbone of the health response – without them we can do nothing in Yemen. They must be paid their wages so that they can continue to save lives,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The organization says that it is working with its partners around the clock to set up cholera treatment clinics, rehabilitate health facilities, deliver medical supplies, and support the national health response effort.

Dr. Tedros urged all the parties involved in the crisis to find a political solution to the conflict. “The people of Yemen cannot bear it much longer – they need peace to rebuild their lives and their country,” he said.

More than 99 percent of people sick with suspected cholera who can access health services are surviving. Furthermore, nearly 15 million people are unable to get basic healthcare.

Arab Parliament Speaker Lauds Saudi Efforts Combating Cholera in Yemen

Speaker of Arab Parliament Dr. Meshaal Al-Salami praised on Friday agreements signed by the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid with World Health Organization (WHO) and with UNICEF, to combat and curb cholera in Yemen.

In an official statement, Dr. Al-Salami praised efforts exerted by the Kingdom to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly people of Yemen due to this deadly epidemic and to improve the poor health conditions surrounding Yemeni people in difficult living conditions.

He called on the international community, UN Security Council and the Arab, Islamic and international relief organizations to support efforts to combat epidemics and deliver aid to the affected areas, in Yemen to prevent the worsening humanitarian and health conditions.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid, dubbed KSRelief, had signed with the World Health Organization (WHO) a USD337-million-worth initiative to combat the cholera epidemic in Yemen.

The project was signed by Advisor at the Royal Court, KSRelief’s General Supervisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabiah and WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Mahmoud Fikri, said the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Following the signing, Rabiah said that this second agreement was signed under the directive of Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, as an extension of efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to alleviate suffering of the Yemeni people.

He said also that US66.7 million was allocated to fight the epidemic, as well as another USD8.2 million agreement signed with WHO several weeks ago tackling related challenges.

Yemeni Minister: ‘International Organizations’ Financial Activity to Undergo Close Monitoring’

Riyadh- Yemen’s government said on Thursday that it will closely monitor ingoing and outgoing fiscal transactions of international organizations working there.

Authorities will also conduct regular assessments to cover the organizations’ work and activity log, said local administration minister Abdul Raqeeb Fateh.

“Money is available with the support of our brothers in the Gulf, and possibilities are also available,” said the minister, who also heads the Higher Relief Committee in Yemen.

“We need a real and effective mechanism of action and avoid the routine regulations the United Nations organizations adopt and which Yemen cannot afford at the moment,” he added.

Fateh’s remarks came after the King Salman Relief Center signed a support agreement for the World Health Organization to tackle cholera in Yemen in Riyadh.

The Minister pointed out that there is no need nor time more diagnosis, the problems have become clear in terms of relief and health. The role now should focus on how to resolve current dilemmas.

“Following UN routine processing does not lead to real efficiency of the use of funds and real effectiveness on delivery,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid, dubbed KSRelief, had signed with the World Health Organization (WHO) a USD337-million-worth initiative to combat the cholera epidemic in Yemen.

The project was signed by Advisor at the Royal Court, KSRelief’s General Supervisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabiah and WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Mahmoud Fikri, said the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Following the signing, Rabiah said that this second agreement was signed under the directive of Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, as an extension of efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to alleviate suffering of the Yemeni people.

He said also that US66.7 million was allocated to fight the epidemic, as well as another USD8.2 million agreement signed with WHO several weeks ago tackling related challenges.

Saudi Arabia, Yemen Call on Organizations to Protect Aid from Theft

Riyadh- King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid and the Yemeni Higher Relief Committee reiterated their call on humanitarian organizations to deal firmly with Yemen’s insurgents that are halting access of humanitarian aid to those who deserve it, and are selling provided drugs in the black market.

These calls come in light of the continued looting of relief and health aid by Houthi militias, and the calls by the Yemeni government to the necessity of delivering humanitarian aid to all Yemeni territories, especially that the insurgents are preventing their delivery by imposing customs duties or selling them in the black market.

Advisor to the Saudi Royal Court Dr. Abdullah al-Rabiah, who is also the general supervisor of the center, stressed the need for rapid implementation of the programs on the cholera epidemic.

He called on the international humanitarian community to join Saudi Arabia in boosting its humanitarian efforts in Yemen in addition to the active aid in supporting its aid programs and establishing firm regulations that hold accountable all those who prevent or steal humanitarian and medical assistance.

Rabiah’s statements were made on the sidelines of a ceremony that witnessed the signing of a $33 million project between the center and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

This project is a part of the $66.7 million financial commitment made by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz to fight the outbreak of cholera.

Rabiah added that the center will provide other services in terms of environmental sanitation, including announced support to the WHO by $8.2 million in addition to sending a convoy carrying 550 tons of medicines and medical solutions.

Coalition: Houthis Target of Mokha Port in Yemen Threatens Cholera Aid Flow

houthis

Riyadh– Houthi militias used a remote-controlled bombed boat to attack al-Mokha port on the west coast of Yemen on Saturday, without causing casualties.

The boat collided with a naval pier near a group of ships, causing an explosion, according to a statement issued by Command of Saudi-led Coalition for the Support of Legitimacy.

The command stressed that Houthi and ousted Saleh militias continue to violate all international norms and resolutions by targeting Yemeni ports’ security and threatening international navigation and regional and global security.

“Adding that these criminal practices impede the arrival of relief and humanitarian assistance and medications for cholera treatment for Yemeni territory,” added the statement as reported by Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The statement reiterated its request for international community to pressure Houthi militias and forces loyal to ousted Saleh to implement UN Security Council resolution 2216 to prevent such criminal practices.

Earlier in mid-June, Houthi militias also targeted a UAE ship as it was leaving the Mokha port. One crew member was wounded when Houthis fired a missile at the ship.

WAM news agency quoted a statement from the UAE armed forces as saying that the ship came under attack opposite the Yemeni port of al-Mokha. The statement warned that the UAE would pursue those behind the attack.

“The attack did not cause any damage to the ship, while a crew member was hurt,” WAM said.

Several countries denounced the attack on the Emirati ship and reiterated the importance of stopping the terrorist activities of the insurgents in Yemen and everyone supporting and financing them.

In January, legitimacy forces regained control of the strategic Mokha city overlooking the Red Sea and later in February, the Yemeni army announced the full liberation of the city and the port.

The army issued a statement saying that the operation was backed by Arab Alliance. It added that the coup militia fled towards the road leading to the city of Hodeidah, west of Yemen.

Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights condemned the Saleh-Houthi militias’ attack on Mokha seaport.

In a statement issued, the ministry renewed its call on the international community to take an action to implement the UN resolutions especially Resolution 2216 to halt “savage crimes of the militias”.

“These insane criminal attacks against service facilities such as the Mokha seaport want to create chaos, destruction, and death everywhere,” said the ministry’s statement.

The ministry stressed that insurgents aim to stop the ongoing works that improve the seaports’ capacity in receiving humanitarian aid and delivering it to Taiz and large parts of Hodeidah.

The statement concluded that the insurgents are Indifferent to the lives of the citizens who are used as human shields or besieged and left to face death by starvation or diseases.

UAE Backs Cholera Fight in Yemen with $10 Million Grant

Dubai- The UAE has announced a grant of USD10 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the UN agency’s efforts in fighting a cholera outbreak in Yemen.

The announcement was made during a meeting held on Thursday between Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO.

Sheikh Mohammed and Dr. Ghebreyesus discussed relations and cooperation between the UAE and WHO and the UAE’s efforts to provide aid to people in disaster and crisis-hit areas around the world.

Sheikh Mohammed affirmed the UAE government’s commitment to continue developing healthcare services by establishing world-class healthcare facilities, providing specialized medical services, attracting best talents and producing high-quality cadres from local educational institutes. He also highlighted UAE’s efforts in the field of medical and pharmaceutical research.

Sheikh Mohammed expressed his appreciation for WHO’s efforts to enhance health conditions, rallying international efforts to combat epidemics and launching new programs to help in enhancing people’s quality of life.

The Vice President also affirmed UAE’s commitment to support WHO’s programs and initiatives.

Dr. Ghebreyesus praised UAE’s support for international efforts to fight epidemics and enhance healthcare services around the world. He also highlighted UAE’s healthcare programs and initiatives that significantly contributed in improving people’s lives around the world.