The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against a fresh wave of cholera in war-torn Yemen, where a crippling blockade imposed by the Saudi-led military coalition has cut off fuel for medical centers, and vital aid supplies for starving children.
According to Press TV, Nevio Zagaria, WHO’s Acting Representative in Yemen sounded the grim warning on Sunday, saying despite a drop in new cases for the past 11 straight weeks, 35 districts across the country were still reporting the highly infectious disease with “high attack rates” in communities.
According to WHO figures, around 960,000 suspected cases of cholera and 2,219 deaths have been documented since the deadly epidemic broke out in April in Yemen, where 8 million people face famine.
Children account for almost a third of infections of the waterborne disease, spread by food or water contaminated with human feces. The disease causes acute watery diarrhea and dehydration and can kill within hours if left untreated.
A worsening economic situation and a dire shortage of clean drinking water, due to failing water sewage systems in many cities and the lack of fuel for water pumps, have compounded the humanitarian crisis, Zagaria added.
“This is a perfect mix to have a new explosion of a cholera epidemic at the beginning of the rainy season in March of next year,” Zagaria said.
He further warned that 16 percent of Yemeni children, under the age of five, suffer from acute malnutrition, including 5.2 percent with a severe form of the alarming condition, which is life-threatening.