Yemen is now facing the “worst cholera outbreak in the world,” with some 5,000 suspected cases arising each day, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced in a joint statement, adding that 1,300 people have died from the illness.
“In just two months, cholera has spread to almost every governorate of this war-torn country,” the Saturday statement reads, noting that more than 200,000 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded.
“Already more than 1,300 people have died – one quarter of them children – and the death toll is expected to rise,” it continues.
The statement says that 14.5 million people have been cut off from regular access to clean water and sanitation, which increases the ability of cholera to spread.
The two organizations said that they, along with their partners, are “racing to stop the acceleration of this deadly outbreak” by working to detect and track it, and by providing clean water, adequate sanitation, and medical treatment.
“Rapid response teams are going house-to-house to reach families with information about how to protect themselves by cleaning and storing drinking water,” they report.
The statement also notes that an estimated 30,000 local health workers, who play the largest role in fighting the outbreak, have not received their salaries in 10 months, and urged for their wages to be paid.
The organizations blame the outbreak on two years of heavy fighting in the war-torn country, where a battle between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to ousted President Mansur Hadi has led to the deaths of thousands.
Attempts by the Saudi-led coalition to drive back the Houthis have only added to the plight of the people, with several leading organizations telling RT last month that the bombing campaign led by Riyadh is responsible for the cholera outbreak.
“We call on all parties to end this devastating conflict,” the Saturday statement concludes.