Call for sanitation recovery and ‘cholera ceasefire’ in Yemen
A runaway cholera epidemic is now killing one person nearly every hour in Yemen with thousands of lives at risk in coming months...
SANA’A, Yemen – A runaway cholera epidemic is now killing one person nearly every hour in Yemen with thousands of lives at risk in coming months, according to international agency Oxfam.
Data from the World Health Organisation has shown that in the five weeks between 27 April and 3 June some 676 people died of the disease.
Last week the rate jump to 2,777 suspected cases a day from 2,529 a day during the previous week.
The cholera crisis comes on top of two years of brutal war which has decimated the health, water and sanitation systems, severely restricted the essential imports the country is dependent upon.
Money, essential supplies and technical support are needed to strengthen Yemen's embattled health, water and sanitation services.
However, health workers and water engineers have not been paid for months while hospitals, health centres, public water systems have been destroyed and starved of key items, such as medical supplies, chlorine and fuel, Oxfam said.
The agency is calling for a massive aid effort and an immediate ceasefire to allow health and aid workers tackle the outbreak.
Oxfam said running an effective nationwide cholera response cannot succeed while the country is at war and called on all parties to the fighting to agree a ‘cholera ceasefire’ to allow health and aid workers to get on with the task.
Sajjad Mohammed Sajid, Oxfam's Yemen country director, said: “Yemen is on the edge of an abyss. Lives hang in the balance. Two years of war has plunged the country into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and at the risk of famine. Now it is at the mercy of a deadly and rapidly spreading cholera epidemic. Cholera is simple to treat and prevent but while the fighting continues the task is made doubly difficult. A massive aid effort is needed now. Those backers of this war in Western and Middle Eastern capitals need to put pressure on parties to the fighting to agree a ceasefire to allow public health and aid workers to get on with the task.”