Civil war country: Worst cholera outbreak worldwide in Yemen
The civil war in Yemen, which has been going on for years, has largely caused the country's health system to collapse. The grievances are contributing to the rapid spread of the cholera epidemic. Around 5,000 people become infected every day. Over 1,300 patients have already died from the dangerous infectious disease.
Number of infected soon to be 300,000
Yemen is currently experiencing the world's worst cholera outbreak. As the UN Children's Fund UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) explained, there are now more than 200,000 suspected cases. Around 5,000 people became infected every day. Since the epidemic began in late April, more than 1,300 people in Yemen have died of cholera, a quarter of them children. The death toll is likely to continue to increase. Around 300,000 people are expected to be infected by the end of August.
Destroyed health system and no clean water
Cholera bacteria are mainly spread through water that is contaminated with human feces. Among other things, the infection leads to severe diarrhea and vomiting. Due to the extreme loss of fluid, the disease can also lead to death.
Cholera can actually be treated relatively easily and successfully, but in the civil war country, the epidemic will be difficult to control, according to the WHO.
The health system in Yemen has been almost completely destroyed in the wake of the violent conflicts in recent years. Less than half of the country's health centers are still fully functional.
There is a shortage of medication and the medical staff has not been paid for months. In addition, large sections of the population lack knowledge of how to prevent infection.
Many of the country's inhabitants are weakened because they do not have enough to eat. And about two thirds of the approximately 27 million inhabitants have no access to clean water. The sewage systems and waste disposal often no longer work.
Fatal consequences especially for children
The current cholera epidemic has fatal consequences, especially for children. "Children account for half of the suspected cholera cases and a quarter of the reported deaths," says a recent UNICEF statement.
Dr. Meritxell Relano, UNICEF representative in Yemen, said in an earlier announcement: “The outbreak makes a bad situation drastically worse for children. Many of the children who died from the disease were also acutely malnourished. ”
Today, life for children in Yemen with cholera, malnutrition and the relentless violence of the civil war is more of a desperate struggle for survival.
The situation will probably not improve anytime soon. According to political observers, efforts to negotiate peace have stalled.
The measures to contain the cholera epidemic will have to increase enormously in the coming months. (ad)