Monday, 15 May 2017

Yemen warns it is 'unable to contain' deadly cholera outbreak

A state of emergency has been declared in Yemen after a cholera outbreak killed 180 people in two weeks.
The disease, which can be fatal within hours if left untreated, has spread widely since the end of April - and more than 8,500 people are sick.

Yemen is hugely unprepared for such an outbreak, as a devastating war between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition has destroyed vital infrastructure.

Last month, the World Health Organisation said barely 45% of the nation's hospitals were fully functioning, while the flow of "essential medicines" had fallen by nearly 70%.

Two-thirds of the population are also without access to safe drinking water.

In a statement, the Houthi-run health ministry said it was "unable to contain this disaster" and launched an appeal for help from international humanitarian organisations.

Understaffed hospitals in Sanaa, Yemen's capital, have said they are struggling to cope with the high influx of patients.

Nabeel al Najjar, who works at Sabaeen Hospital, said their medicine supplies were running low - but they were still receiving 150 to 200 new cases of cholera per day.
"We are putting four patients in each bed, and have placed extra beds in tents and under trees in the garden," Mr al Najjar said, adding that rain had frustrated their arrangements.

A two-year war has meant more than half of Yemen's hospitals are no longer fully functioning

Jamie McGoldrick, a UN humanitarian co-ordinator, warned more people will die from cholera in Yemen over the coming weeks and months.

"This rapid outbreak of cholera is just another dire manifestation of the humanitarian crisis that faces this country," he told reporters.

Last month, more than $1bn (£770m) in aid was raised for Yemen by countries around the world - with Mr McGoldrick urging the donors to fulfil their pledges as soon as possible.

It is estimated that 17 million people are at imminent risk of famine in Yemen, and the UN says three million malnourished children are in "grave peril".

Since the war began in March 2015, more than 10,000 people have been killed - with millions of others displaced.

SKY      News.