Cholera raises fears of disaster in Yemen

Rubbish piling up in the streets, drinking water supply system destroyed: after four years of civil war, Yemen now fears a massacre caused by cholera. The epidemic has already infected 1.3 million people and caused 2,700 deaths, a quarter of them children.

Paradoxically, it is the drop in new cases that worries NGOs. Oxfam counted 100,000 in the first three months of the year; half as much in April, when they were up 70% last year at the same period.

The fault of another epidemic, the Covid-19. Yemen recorded its first case in April. Wednesday, July 29, he officially counted 1,703 (for 484 deaths), a figure most certainly underestimated.

« From the start of the crisis, many hospitals closed their services to avoid excessive attendance. Pregnant women and malnourished children have avoided health centers since the pandemic. But also cholera patients, ”explains Ghassan Abou Chaar, head of operations in Yemen for Doctors Without Borders.

The weight of civil war

However, in this season, the rains do not help: stagnant water facilitates contagion. Without treatment, the WHO warns that half of people with cholera but not diagnosed could die from it. Whereas if the disease was caught in time, only 1% of infected people succumb to it.

Muhsin Siddiquey, Director of Oxfam Yemen is concerned: Yemenis desperately need the fighting to end. These destroyed health centers and left communities even more vulnerable to viruses . For Ghassan Abou Chaar, the problem today is the health system in general, we have to find a way to reactivate it ”.

Faint hope: yesterday, the separatists of the Southern Transition Council (STC) announced that they were renouncing their declaration of autonomy made several weeks ago. They pledge to implement the power-sharing agreement with the government, signed in 2019, under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, thus raising the hope of a reconciliation between these two allied camps against the Houthi rebels. .

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