A cholera outbreak has been reported to have spread in Yemen.
According to RT, the country has had over 1,000 infected civilians and 115 are already dead. The Yemeni Health Ministry has already coordinated with humanitarian organizations to ask for aid as they said this was an “unprecedented disaster.”
“We now are facing a serious outbreak of cholera,” Director of Operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross Dominik Stillhart told a news conference in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, on Sunday.
At present, Sanaa is declared to be under a state of emergency.The Yemeni militia has intervened the patients since there is an ongoing conflict between the Houthi rebels, a Saudi-led coalition. During the civil attacks, more than 10,000 people have already been killed.
Sanaa is also suffering from the lack of medical facilities to help the patients with cholera. According to US News, the country experienced the epidemic late last year, but it faded. The government did not anticipate the outbreaks to come back at large.
The World Health Organization reported last Thursday that there were 51 patients who died of cholera. With the rapid increase by Saturday, the situation has been on red alert.
Stillhart said the current medical institutions cannot accommodate the patients and they are even squeezing four people in one bed.
“There are people in the garden, and some even in their cars with the IV drip hanging from the window,” he said.
The cholera outbreak in Yemen is caused by the blockade that hampers the delivery of crucial supplies including food and medicine. Saudi airstrikes also contributed to the destruction of civilian structures as well as water engineering.
The United Nations alerts everyone that if this continues, 17 million people in Yemen are “at imminent risk of famine.”
The U.N. has been active in Haiti’s cholera outbreak back in 2010. However, the international institution failed to raise the money to fight the disease. According to New York Times, the U.N. apologized to the Haitians for not being able to provide. They said that they have a “moral responsibility” to make things right.
The U.N. has shifted their approach to fight the epidemic, but they have only gained $2 million. Only six out of their 193 states contributed including Britain, Chile, France, India, South Korea, and Liechtenstein.
U.N. then addressed the issue with the donors. They said that donors will only respond if they can be convinced that “they’re going to be given a good proposition for what’s done with their money.”
“The Haiti cholera story is not actually a very good one, in that it’s taken us a rather long time to get on top of it, and still the problem is persisting.”
The fund-raising has also been made more complicated by the Trump administration’s cut on foreign aid.
Cholera is a waterborne bacterial virus which also causes diarrhea and fatal dehydration. If not treated quickly, the virus will spread all over the body. With Yemen’s current situation and lack of water resources, cholera has become harder to treat.
This has been what the CEO of St. Boniface Haiti Foundation Conor Shapiro said years ago.
“There will be many more cases of cholera, and unnecessary deaths, all across areas affected by the hurricane if large-scale cholera treatment and prevention response doesn’t reach them immediately.”
So far, the humanitarian groups are getting into action, but if they could not raise enough money to support their operations in Yemen, it may become yet another catastrophe like Haiti.
[Feature Image Joe Raedle/Getty Images]