Red Cross warns: fear of up to 600,000 cholera sufferers in Yemen
The cholera epidemic in Yemen continues to spread. According to the Red Cross, there could be around 600,000 cholera sufferers by the end of the year. The health system of the civil war country has largely collapsed - as has the drinking water supply.
600,000 cholera sufferers by the end of the year
The civil war country of Yemen is currently suffering from the worst cholera epidemic in the world. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), it will even expand significantly. According to a report by the dpa news agency, ICRC President Peter Maurer said that around 600,000 cholera sufferers were to be feared by the end of the year. "The big tragedy is that it is an avoidable, human-made humanitarian disaster," said Maurer.
More than 1,800 people have died
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 362,000 people are currently suffering from cholera. Over 1,800 people have died - including many children.
Cholera bacteria are mainly spread through water that is contaminated with human feces. Among other things, the infection leads to severe diarrhea and vomiting. Due to the extreme loss of fluid, the disease can lead to death.
The infectious disease can actually be treated relatively easily and successfully, but in the civil war country, the epidemic will be difficult to control, according to WHO and other experts.
Health care system is largely destroyed
The health system and other areas of civil infrastructure in Yemen have been largely destroyed in the wake of violent conflicts in recent years.
There is a shortage of medication and the medical staff has not received a salary for months. In addition, large sections of the population lack knowledge of how to prevent infection.
Many of the country's inhabitants are weakened because they do not have enough to eat. And about two thirds of the approximately 27 million inhabitants have no access to clean water.
"Many water treatment plants and pipes were destroyed," wrote the German Red Cross (DRK) on its website.
"In the capital Sanaa, which has around 2.5 million inhabitants and is home to several hundred thousand refugees, drinking water supply no longer works."
The sewage systems and waste disposal often no longer work. Polluted water is considered the main reason for the epidemic.
Fatal consequences especially for children
The current cholera epidemic has fatal consequences, especially for children. "Children account for half of the suspected cholera cases and a quarter of the reported deaths," says a message from the UN children's aid organization UNICEF.
The situation will probably not improve anytime soon. According to political observers, efforts to negotiate peace have come to a standstill.
The measures to contain the cholera epidemic will have to increase enormously in the coming months.
ICRC President Peter Maurer called on all parties to the conflict to at least facilitate the delivery of medicine and food. (ad)