Suspected cholera cases in Yemen hit 1 million: ICRC

SHAFAQNA – The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has hit 1 million, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday, as war has left more than 80 percent of the population short of food, fuel, clean water and access to healthcare.

The United Nations says it is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The World Health Organization has recorded 2,219 deaths since the cholera epidemic began in April, with children accounting for nearly a third of infections.

Cholera, spread by food or water contaminated with human faeces, causes acute diarrhoea and dehydration and can kill within hours if untreated. Yemen’s health system has virtually collapsed, with most health workers unpaid for months.

On Dec 3, the WHO said another wave of cholera could strike within months after the Saudi-led coalition closed air, land and sea access, cutting off fuel for hospitals and water pumps and aid supplies for starving children.

Yemen is also suffering from diphtheria epidemic, with aid groups warning that the spread of the disease is inevitable in Yemen due to low vaccination rates, lack of access to medical care and so many people moving around and coming in contact with those infected.

At least a million children are at risk of contracting the disease.

Saudi Arabia and a group of its allies have been bombing Yemen since 2015 to put its former Riyadh-friendly government back in the saddle. More than 12,000 have died since the war began.

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