As Yemen enters its third year of war imposed by the Saudi-led coalition, civilians are facing the prospect of another deadly outbreak of cholera, the UN children’s fund has warned.
“Much more attention (needs to be paid to) the situation in Yemen. This has been rightly described as one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has ever known,” UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere told reporters in Amman on his return from a week-long trip to the decimated country.
“Let us not fool ourselves. Cholera is going to come back,” he said on Sunday. “In a few weeks from now the rainy season will start again and without a huge and immediate investment, cholera will again hit Yemeni children.”
Cholera – an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholera – can kill the vulnerable, such as the very old, young and otherwise sick in hours if fluids are not replaced.
More than 11 million children suffered from cholera and diphtheria in 2017 thanks to the breakdown of Yemen’s healthcare and sanitation systems and difficulty importing vaccinations, UNICEF said.