Number of suspected cases now stands at more than 750,000, charity organization reports
Yemen’s ongoing cholera epidemic is “the worst in history” with more than 750,000 cases registered since April, according to international charity organization Oxfam.
The number of cholera-related deaths in Yemen has now surpassed 2,100, while a whopping 755,000 suspected cases have been registered since April 27, making the epidemic “the worst in history”, the charity said in a statement issued late Thursday.
It went on to warn that the number of cases of cholera — a bacterial infection of the small intestine — could exceed 1,000,000 by November.
The same statement quoted Oxfam Humanitarian Director Nigel Timmins as saying that impoverished Yemen was now facing “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world”.
The organization went on to point out that the country’s ongoing armed conflict, which has just entered its fourth year, had created “ideal conditions” for the spread of the disease.
On Thursday, the UN, too, warned that Yemen was now home to the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis”, with nearly 70 percent of the country’s population in need of aid.
“Some 7.3 million people [in Yemen] are on the brink of famine,” Kate Gilmore, UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, told the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.
According to Gilmore, almost 19 million of Yemen’s total population of 27.4 million “are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 10.3 million in acute need”.
Since April, Gilmore said, over three million people had been forced to flee their homes as a direct result of the ongoing conflict between the Shia Houthi militia group and Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.
Yemen fell into civil war in 2014 when the Houthis and their allies overran large swathes of the country, including capital Sanaa, forcing the government to set up an interim capital in the coastal city of Aden.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi military gains in Yemen.
According to UN figures, more than 10,000 people — including numerous civilians — have been killed to date as a result of the conflict.