One million suspected cholera cases in Yemen, Red Cross says

  • One million suspected cholera cases in Yemen, Red Cross says

One million suspected cholera cases in Yemen, Red Cross says

Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition backed by the USA has conducted airstrikes to battle the Houthis, an Iran-backed rebel group that has grabbed large areas of the country, including the capital.

Now, more than eight million Yemenis are on the verge of starvation, making the country the scene of, what the United Nations calls, the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The cholera figure is nearly certainly exaggerated, but that does not diminish the scale and complexity of the humanitarian crisis, said Mr Marc Poncin, Yemen emergency coordinator for aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières.

Cholera flared up in April and spread rapidly, killing 2,227 people according to the World Health Organization.

A new wave of cholera is expected in March or April.

"Yemen suspected cholera cases has reached the threshold of one million, amplifying the suffering of the country caught up in a brutal war", the ICRC said on its Yemen Twitter account.

Aid workers and health personnel said on Friday the tightening blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition has led to a huge shortage in the provision of medicines and the increase in the number of patients with cholera.

Marc Poncin is Emergency Coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Yemen.

The humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen rages on as the year comes to a close and the problem with infectious disease outbreaks continue in lock-step as part of the crisis. The fighting has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced 3 million and damaged critical infrastructure, fueling the cholera outbreak.

Saudi Arabia and a group of its allies have been bombing Yemen since 2015 to put its former Riyadh-friendly government back in the saddle.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking said the United States would have a conversation with Saudi Arabia about 30 days the port will be open and about possibly changing the timeline, but said the USA first wants to see ships moving in and goods and services reaching the people of Yemen.

Coalition air raids killed 43 Huthi fighters in the Red Sea province of Hodeida in the past day alone, amid a push by pro-government forces to advance toward a key port there, medical and military sources said.