World Health Organization report: Half-million affected by cholera in Yemen

Bulgaria Yemen Cholera Epidemic Cases Exceed 500,000 in 4 Months

It blames a collapsing health system, a lack of clean water, and a build-up of human waste, which is not being collected in major cities. The disease impacts vulnerable populations, including children and patients aged older than 60 years.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of suspected cholera cases in war-ravaged Yemen has reached half a million since the start of the ongoing civil war in 2015 between the internationally-recognized Yemeni government and a collection of rebels led by the Shiite Houthis.

More than 99 percent of people sick with suspected cholera who can access health services are surviving.

The agency said over 15 million people are unable to access basic health care because more than half of all health facilities in the war-torn country have closed due to damage, funds have been lacking, and 30,000 health workers have not been paid in more than a year.

Those airstrikes damaged or destroyed several of the country's health facilities; around half of them are now unable to operate.

Most people who are infected by cholera - a disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 - exhibit mild diarrhoea, or no symptoms at all. Left untreated, cholera can result in death on account of severe renal failure, electrolyte imbalances and dehydration, according to the CDC. Furthermore, almost 15 million people are unable to get basic healthcare. This is the grim situation that many in Yemen now face.

The UN is supporting partners to set up cholera treatment clinics, rehabilitate health facilities, deliver medical supplies, and support national health response efforts.

"To save lives in Yemen today we must support the health system, especially the health workers". The disease can kill within hours if not treated, the statement said. "The people of Yemen can not bear it much longer-they need peace to rebuild their lives and their country", said Tedros. An official for the anti-poverty charity group said Yemen was "teetering on the brink of famine" and called the cholera outbreak "a knockout blow".

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