Aden- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Sunday the cholera outbreak has killed 115 people and left 8,500 ill between April 27 and Saturday.
“We now are facing a serious outbreak of cholera,” Dominik Stillhart, the director of operations at the ICRC, told a news conference in Sanaa.
More than 8,500 suspected cases of the waterborne disease were reported in the same period in 14 governorates across Yemen, Stillhart told DPA, up from 2,300 cases in 10 governorates last week.
At the same time, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Spokesman Mohammed Al Asaadi said that confirmed cases of the disease rose to 202.
Medical sources in Hodeidah said that a cholera epidemic has spread widely among citizens due to a deficient supply of drinking water and sanitation.
City sources said citizens are using unsafe water daily. Hospitals in coup-run Sana’a, controlled by Iran-allied Houthis, have declared a state of emergency over a deadly outbreak of cholera that has spread rapidly in the Yemeni capital.
The Houthi-run health ministry said cases of cholera had worsened and that it was “unable to contain this disaster”, in a statement carried overnight by the rebels’ Saba news agency.
International relief agencies on Sunday warned of a catastrophic humanitarian situation and urged citizens to exercise hygiene precautions.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) expressed fears that health authorities alone will not be able to deal with the outbreak.
“MSF calls on international organizations to scale up their assistance urgently to limit the spread of the outbreak and anticipate potential other ones,” it said in a statement.
This is the second outbreak of cholera, a bacterial infection contracted through ingesting contaminated food or water, in less than a year in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) now classifies Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Iraq.
The United Nations has warned 17 million people — equivalent to two-thirds of the population — are at imminent risk of famine in Yemen.
In the meantime, the Houthi-run health ministry responsible for the population controlled by the coup in Sanaa barred the central medical facility from receiving any cholera cases and gave reception priority exclusively to cases wounded combatants injured on the battlefields.
Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper had received the letter from the Director-General of Epidemiological Monitoring, Dr. Abdel Hakim Al-Kahlani, saying that the Republican Hospital in Ammana area will not continue receiving cases of cholera, as the emergency department is preoccupied with taking in wounded fighters. The ministry said it had directed alternative centers and locations to receive cholera patients.