Cholera.. Yemen’s Forgotten Tragedy

الكوليرا في اليمن

For the fifth successive year, Yemenis are still paying the tax of the Houthi coup on the internationally recognized government in Yemen. They pay not only their money, homes, and livelihoods; but also their health and lives, as health systems have completely collapsed, and the whole country runs on epidemics.

In the light of the deteriorated situation and the virtually non-existent health services, the international organization of OXFAM has sounded the alert in Yemen warning of a cholera outbreak, especially that the epidemic is already spread in the country for years.

The organization says that the next few months are likely to see a significant rise in the number of people infected, confirming that the first weeks of this year witnessed more than 56,000 suspected cases of the disease.

The organization pointed out that the concerns are raised due to the rate of infections in the first few weeks of this year, which equals the infections in the whole past year, and this indicates the rapid outbreak of the disease, particularly in the capital of Sana’a, Hajjah, Al-Hodeidah and Taiz and Dhamar, where cholera has spread since 2017.

Muhsin Siddighi, the head of Oxfam office in Yemen, described the outbreak of cholera as a health crisis hidden in front of everyone’s eyes.

“We need urgent action by the international community to ensure safe and unhindered access to humanitarian aid, and to bring all parties together to agree on a ceasefire,” Siddighi said.

“Expectations are bleak, the rate of cholera cases is still at the same level of last year, and the rainy season is likely to cause thousands of new infections,” Siddighi pointed out.

“It is shocking that such an ongoing crisis receives so little attention,” he added, explaining that expectations foreshadow worse situation.

As for fatalities, the international official said that the number had dropped in 2019, with 1,025 documented fatalities in cholera, which is half the number of fatalities in 2017.

Siddighi pointed out that war and continuous battles contribute to undermining the efforts exerted to overcome the disease completely. “The number of cholera infections in 2019 was the second largest ever recorded in a country within one year, while the first number was recorded with the outbreak of the disease in 2017, with more than a million cases,” he explained.

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