A Yemeni child, suspected of being infected with cholera, receives treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 15, 2017.

A Yemeni child, suspected of being infected with cholera, receives treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 15, 2017.
Photo Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS

Deadly cholera outbreak brings back focus on Yemen’s forgotten war

Share

A deadly outbreak of cholera that has killed at least 124 people in Yemen in the last two weeks has put the limelight back on what many call the Middle East’s forgotten war.

Authorities in the rebel-controlled capital Sanaa have declared a state of emergency and international aid groups are scrambling to try to deal with the outbreak, the second this year.

“According to figures supplied by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), there are 11,000 cases, 124 deaths in 128 districts out of 333 in Yemen,” Wael Ibrahim, a Canadian who heads the CARE International aid group in Yemen, said in a phone interview from Sanaa.

(click to listen to the interview with Wael Ibrahim)

Listen
A nurse attends to a boy infected with cholera at a hospital in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen May 14, 2017.
A nurse attends to a boy infected with cholera at a hospital in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen May 14, 2017. © ABDULJABBAR ZEYAD

These staggering numbers are caused by a combination of factors, including the near-collapse of the economy and healthcare system as a result of the two-year war, Ibrahim said.

According to figures provided by the World Health Organization, fewer than 45 per cent of health facilities in Yemen were fully functioning.

Almost 300 hospitals or clinics have been damaged or destroyed in fighting between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi – who is backed by a Saudi-led multinational coalition – and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement supported by Iran.

Since fighting escalated in March 2015, almost 10,000 people – mostly civilians – have been killed and about 45,000 others injured, the UN says.

Yemeni men suspected of being infected with cholera receive treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 12, 2017.
Yemeni men suspected of being infected with cholera receive treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 12, 2017. © MOHAMMED HUWAIS

The civil war has also left 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Because of the collapse of the banking system public sector salaries haven’t been paid in months, there are difficulties importing medical supplies, Ibrahim said.

There has been no electricity in the country for the last almost two years, creating huge challenges for the country’s water and sanitation systems, he said.

“All of that created a catastrophic situation which is unfolding now,” Ibrahim said. “I think the alarming thing is that it is expanding – the number of casualties, the number of people suffering – faster than it had been anticipated by the health experts.”

 Yemeni children walk amidst the rubble of a house in Yemen’s Huthi rebel-held capital Sanaa on August 11, 2016, after it was reportedly hit by a Saudi-led coalition air strike.
Yemeni children walk amidst the rubble of a house in Yemen’s Huthi rebel-held capital Sanaa on August 11, 2016, after it was reportedly hit by a Saudi-led coalition air strike. © GI/MOHAMMED HUWAIS

The near-collapse of the economy is affecting not only the public sector but also the country’s private sector, Ibrahim said.

The private sector is no longer able to export, import, create jobs, provide people with a livelihood, he said.

“This situation has long-term implications for the population,” Ibrahim said. “The world still has not come to full recognition of its impact, we’re still focusing on the emergency phase.”

Another major issue that needs to be dealt with are the severe restrictions placed on the import of goods and the movement of such goods and medicines within the country, said ICRC’s director for the Middle East Robert Mardini.

“Yemen depends on imports. People are suffering and dying not just from the fighting, but from chronic illnesses and disease,” Mardini said in a statement. “We need to see this stranglehold relaxed. It’ll help greatly in the relief of the peoples’ suffering.”

United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick gives a press conference in Sanaa on May 15, 2017.
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick gives a press conference in Sanaa on May 15, 2017. © MOHAMMED HUWAIS

Humanitarian funding is urgently needed to save lives across Yemen, said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country.

“All commitments made during the pledging conference in Geneva need to materialize at once,” McGoldrick said. “While Yemen awaits for peace, humanitarian action is saving lives every day across the entire country.”

Yet, less than 20 per cent of funds pledged by the international community for the humanitarian response in Yemen have actually been delivered. Of the $2.1 billion required to fund the humanitarian response plan in Yemen the international community has raised only $378.4 million.

Canada is one of the largest contributors to the humanitarian response and has contributed $21.6 million US as of last week.

Source: UN

Share
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Health, International, Politics

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Deadly cholera outbreak brings back focus on Yemen’s forgotten war
  1. Peter Ashcroft says:

    The warring factions in The Yemen are acting like unruly schoolchildren and not God fearing adults. They should grow up, act like sensible adults, and join forces to fight poverty and disease, not just in The Yemen, but other parts of the Middle east / Western Asia