A state of emergency was declared in Yemen after an outbreak of cholera on Sunday, May 14. At least 115 people have been killed in war-torn nation in the past couple of weeks because of cholera.
Yemen is ill-equipped to handle any disease outbreak as most of the country’s hospitals and health centers have been ravaged in the last two years of the war. The nation’s news agency Saba stated that Yemen is not in any shape to cope with this emergency and sought the assistance of humanitarian organizations and donors to assist the nation in this state of medical emergency.
Yemen is currently the battlefield for the western-supported Saudi coalition and the Houthi rebels. Since the beginning of the war, more than 10,000 people have been killed mostly due to air strikes that take place almost on a daily basis in the country.
Yemen’s Current Cholera Situation
Panic ridden patients with cholera — a water-borne diseases — have swamped the damaged medical centers of the state. This influx of patients may lead to a catastrophe if not handled swiftly and efficently. Dominik Stillhart from the Red Cross stated that according to Yemeni health ministry, from April 27 to May 13, 115 people in the capital Sanaa have succumbed to death because of cholera.
The number of possible cholera cases increased from 2,300 cases in 10 governorates last week to 8,500 from 14 governorates across Yemen during the same period. On Sunday, May 14, health officials from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) shared that the rising numbers and poor infrastructure in Yemen may not be equipped to handle the outbreak alone.
“MSF calls on international organisations to scale up their assistance urgently to limit the spread of the outbreak and anticipate potential other ones,” the agency stated.
Out of all the governorates, the cholera outbreak has hit Sanaa the most. The World Health Organization data shows that after Sanaa comes the governorate of Amanat al-Semah with regard to the highest number of cholera cases in the area. Apart from these two, other major cities such as Aden, Taiz, and Hodeidah are also impacted.
Cholera Outbreak In Yemen: How Did It Happen?
The outbreak is suspected to be the result of a recent garbage crisis that plagued the capital, when trash collectors went on a 10-day strike for pay raise. During the strike, piles of garbage gathered on the streets of Sanaa, forcing residents and daily commuters to wear masks to avoid the stench.
Jameel Nashir, the country’s health chief at WHO, advised residents of Sanaa to follow hygienic guidelines like cleaning food items before consuming them. The citizens have also been advised to consume clean water from sources deemed safe.