2 Jul 2017

Death toll from cholera outbreak in Yemen rises

3:32 pm on 2 July 2017

The death toll from a major cholera outbreak in Yemen has risen to 1500.

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Sherin Varkey, UNICEF's Deputy Representative in Yemen, speaks during a press conference about the cholera outbreak. Photo: AFP

Yemen has been devastated by a 27-month war between a Saudi-led coalition and the armed Iran-aligned Houthi group, making it a breeding ground for the disease, which spreads by faeces getting into food or water and thrives in places with poor sanitation.

The World Health Organisation said there had been some 246,000 suspected cases in the period to 30 June.

It believed the outbreak had reached the halfway mark as a massive emergency response has begun to curb its spread two months into the epidemic.

But it has appealed for more help to put an end to the epidemic.

Although most of Yemen's health infrastructure has broken down and health workers have not been paid for more than six months, the WHO is paying "incentives" to doctors, nurses, cleaners and paramedics to staff an emergency cholera network.

With funding help from the World Bank, the WHO is setting up treatment centres with 50-60 beds each, overseen by shifts of about 14 staff working around the clock.

The aim is to reach 5000 beds in total.

- Reuters