War between Saudi-led coalition and Iran-aligned Houthi group makes Yemen a breeding ground for cholera
The death toll from a major cholera outbreak in Yemen has risen to 1,500, Nevio Zagaria, the World Health Organisations representative in Yemen, said on Saturday, and appealed for more help to put an end to the epidemic.
Yemen has been devastated by a 27-month war between a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthi group, making it a breeding ground for the disease, which spreads by faeces getting into food or water and thrives in places with poor sanitation.
Speaking at a joint news conference with representatives of the United Nations Children Fund and the World Bank, Zagaria said there had been 246,000 suspected cases up to 30 June.
Although most of Yemens health infrastructure has broken down and health workers have not been paid for more than six months, the WHO is paying incentives to doctors, nurses, cleaners and paramedics to staff an emergency cholera network.
With funding help from the World Bank, the WHO is setting up treatment centres with 50-60 beds each, overseen by shifts of about 14 staff working around the clock. The aim is to provide 5,000 beds.