34 dead of suspected cholera as Yemen outbreak spreads

2017-05-09 18:26
A man is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sana'a. (Hani Mohammed, AP)

A man is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sana'a. (Hani Mohammed, AP)

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Sana'a - A report on Tuesday said that 34 people died of cholera-related causes and more than 2 000 have been taken ill in Yemen, as humanitarian organisations warned that the outbreak could spiral out of control.

This is the second wave of cholera-associated deaths in Yemen in a year, where deadly conflict has destroyed hospitals and left millions of people struggling to access food and clean water.

Disease will spread

A World Health Organisation official said: "There have been 34 cholera-associated deaths and 2 022 cases of acute diarrhoea in nine areas, including Sana'a, during the period of April 27 to May 7".

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also said on Tuesday that it had independently treated more than 780 cases of cholera and acute diarrhoea since March 30 in Yemen, calling the hike in numbers an "outbreak".

"We are very concerned that the disease will continue to spread and become out of control," said Shinjiro Murata, MSF's head of mission in Yemen.

"Humanitarian assistance... needs to be urgently increased to limit the spread of the outbreak and anticipate potential other ones".

MSF said patients were travelling dozens of kilometres, in difficult conditions, to reach treatment centres.

Humanitarian emergencies

Yemen's public health ministry has reported 310 cases of suspected cholera in Sana'a.

Sanitation workers are also on strike in the capital over weeks of unpaid wages, leaving the streets lined with garbage and sewage pipes clogged.

Sewer water flooded the streets as the city was hit by heavy rain on Tuesday.

The WHO now classifies Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq.

Read more on:    msf  |  who  |  yemen  |  cholera

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