International aid agency CARE is alarmed by the increase in reported cases and deaths resulting from a diarrhoea and cholera outbreak in Yemen.
According to the World Health Organisation, 51 people are estimated to have died from the 2,500 suspected cholera cases in the country. The lack of a functioning health system and limited access to safe water and hygiene poses a threat to effectively controlling the spread of the disease.
CARE Yemen’s Country Director, Wael Ibrahim, said, “This cholera outbreak could not have come at a worse time. Millions of Yemenis are already facing multiple crises that threaten their survival.”
Yemen is experiencing one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises. Close to 19 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with over half of these lacking access to safe water and hygiene. An estimated seven million people are nearing starvation. Less than half of Yemen’s health facilities remain functional as a result of the escalation in conflict in the last two years.
The alarming numbers of those affected by the current outbreak are due to the inability of Yemen’s service delivery institutions to continue functioning. The inconsistent payment of salaries to health workers has severely diminished health service delivery. Institutions and departments supporting water provision and garbage collection in Yemen have also been severely affected.
The situation will only get worse if urgent measures are not taken. We need increased access to affected populations and increased resourcing of the health, water and sanitation response in the country, as well as support to Yemeni service delivery institutions.
CARE is providing support to prevent the spread of cholera in affected areas through providing safe water to hospitals and schools; treatment of water; hygiene promotion and distribution of hygiene and cholera kits. CARE is working with local communities in affected areas in supporting solid waste disposal through clean up campaigns in public spaces including markets.
Donate to CARE’s Global Emergency Fund at www.care.org.au/yemen
For interviews with Wael Ibrahim in Yemen contact Nerida Williams on 0412 449 691