ICRC: Number of cholera cases in Yemen leaps to ′over 300,000′ | News | DW | 11.07.2017
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ICRC: Number of cholera cases in Yemen leaps to 'over 300,000'

The Red Cross has put the number of cholera sufferers in Yemen at more than 300,000. The UN Children's Fund said in June it expected 300,000 cases by September, as war and poverty ravage the country.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday that the cholera epidemic "continues to spiral out of control" since it erupted in April. "Today, over 300,000 people are suspected to be ill," it said in a Twitter post. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) listed 262,649 suspected cases and 1,587 deaths as of July 2, in 21 of 23 Yemeni governorates.

About 7,000 new cholera cases were being recorded daily in the capital Sanaa and three other areas, ICRC regional director Robert Mardini said.

A perfect storm

The collapse of infrastructure after two years of war between the Saudi-backed coalition and Houthi rebels makes for a "perfect storm for cholera," according to the WHO.

Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection spread through contaminated food or water. It is easily treatable, but the war has left less than half of the country's medical facilities functional.

Combating cholera has meant some aid groups have pulled resources away from malnutrition and raises the risk of famine, Jamie McGoldrick, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said last week.

Roughly 17 million people - two-thirds of Yemen's population - don't know where their next meal will come from, according to the World Food Program.

Much of the $1.1 billion (966 million euros) in aid pledged by donor governments in April to deal with the population's needs has reportedly yet to be disbursed.

"We're trying to do our best, but it's very much beyond what we can cope with," McGoldrick said.

jbh/gsw (AFP, dpa)

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