Cholera outbreak spreading at 'unprecedented' speed kills 315 in Yemen

Almost 23,500 suspected cases of cholera have been registered in war-ravaged Yemen in the past three weeks, the World Health Organization said, as the death toll of the outbreak climbed to at least 242.

More than 240 people died from cholera in the past three weeks in Yemen, according to the World Health Organization on Friday.

The cost in lives from an infection rate on this scale would be "extremely, extremely high", he said, adding that "the speed of the resurgence of the cholera epidemic is unprecedented [for Yemen]". It warned that a quarter of a million people could become sick by the end of this year.

Zagaria pointed out that humanitarian workers cannot access some parts of the country, and that the number of suspected cholera cases could be far higher than those registered.

Numerous remaining health workers in the country had not been paid for seven months, Zagaria noted.

A cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen is threatening to get out of control, as numbers of suspected cases have more than doubled in the past five days, a medical charity group has warned.

On May 14, Yemen's Health Ministry declared a state of emergency in the capital Sana'a in connection with the epidemic.

Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated food or water. It peaked in December 2016 and never fully went away, amid conflict between Government and Houthi-backed opposition forces that has left over half the country's medical facilities closed or damaged, and the economy in freefall.

"Before the outbreak, the health system was already overstretched and people's health needs were already huge", MSF's Ghassan Abou Chaar said.

At the same time, he said there was a dire need for funding to help Yemen authorities to make the necessary infrastructure repairs.

Deadly cholera outbreak in Yemen should be put under control as soon as possible, otherwise it could bring "thousands" of deaths, worldwide charity Save the Children said in a press release on Monday.

Water and sanitation need urgent improvement to hold it back, he said.

More than 8,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened to support Yemen's government in 2015, according to the WHO.

  • Zachary Reyes