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UN Urges Greater Support for Efforts to Combat Cholera in Yemen | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemeni children receive treatment at a hospital in the capital Sana’a on 11 October, 2016. (AFP)

Amman – The United Nations urged on Thursday the international community to provide the necessary funding to combat the outbreak of cholera in Yemen and the threat of famine.

It warned that the spread of cholera increases the risk of famine.

UN humanitarian chief in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, warned during a press conference in Amman that the cholera outbreak in the country is depleting aid resources to the point they won’t be able to provide food to people threatened by famine through the summer.

He said 923 people have died of cholera and there are now 124,002 suspected cases — and that figure could double by September.

“We are struggling because of the lack of resources. We need some action immediately,” he said from the Jordanian capital according to Agence France Presse.

McGoldrick gave updated figures of more than 130,000 suspected cases of cholera and over 970 deaths, with women and children accounting for half of the numbers.

“What is heartbreaking in Yemen is that humanity is losing out to the politics,” said McGoldrick.

He said a $2.1 billion humanitarian response plan for Yemen for 2017 had only been 29 percent funded.

The cholera outbreak on top of famine in Yemen was “an indication to how things are falling apart with only 50 percent of health services” operational.

“We need resources, we need money and we need them now to address the famine and to address the problems of cholera.”

Donors in April pledged close to $1.1 billion in aid to Yemen, which the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs calls the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world”.

But only 25 percent of aid pledged to the UN refugee agency has been delivered so far, UNHCR’s Yemen spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said Wednesday.

The Security Council said the cholera outbreak was the latest indicator “of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis” in the Arab world’s poorest nation, and the severe strain the conflict has placed on the country’s institutions.