Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Cholera Outbreak in Yemen May Spiral Out of Control | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A nurse attends to a boy infected with cholera at a hospital in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen May 14, 2017. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad

Aden- Yemenis and international organizations are increasingly concerned about the cholera epidemic spiraling out of control, especially after the increase in numbers of death cases in the country to amount to 676 case since the beginning of the outbreak in April, according to the latest statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The UN organization confirmed that more than 86,400 suspected cases of cholera have been registered in light of the state of war that the country has been going through for almost three years now.

Official Spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Mohammed al-Asaadi denied the reports accusing international organizations of overrating the scale of cholera in Yemen.

Asaadi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “These figures are registered at the level of each governorate and directorate through health offices and sent to a joint operating room in Sana’a, under the supervision of UNICEF, health authorities and donor groups.”

“The reality is very harsh, and the crisis is huge and overlapping and is due to interrelated crises. The rainy season increases the likelihood of epidemics such as cholera and other diseases. Also, the water has become more polluted because the water establishment is unable to treat and pump water into houses, and most of the houses are not registered in the official water network,” Asaadi added.

He also said that another problem is sanitation, especially in the capital Sana’a since it is the most affected by the epidemic because of the population density, where 16,000 cholera cases were reported.

Asaadi also talked about a series of other causes that contributed to the outbreak of cholera in Yemen, including the collapse of the health system, the condition of workers in this system, who are passing through difficult conditions because they have not been paid for nine months now, and the extreme poverty of the citizens who neither have money to receive filtered water nor are capable of buying medications and vaccines to fight the disease.

Recently, many international organizations have launched appeals to bring assistance to Yemen to overcome the cholera epidemic. In this regard, Asaadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the epidemic’s fast outbreak is much bigger than the current international organizations and health authorities’ ability to treat it or halt its outbreak in the country.