UN warns on Yemen cholera outbreak, as health system battered by war

The United Nations warned Friday about a cholera outbreak in Yemen, a country facing years of conflict, including continous airstrikes by Saudi Arabia, and a health system that is struggling to cope amid poverty and strained governmental budgets.

"Children are at a particularly high risk if the current cholera outbreak is not urgently contained, especially since the health system in Yemen is crumbling as the conflict continues," said Julien Harneis, UNICEF representative in Yemen.

Yemeni social media users circulated cartoons published by UNICEF to warn people of the symptoms of cholera and how to treat and prevent it.

Local health authorities confirmed cholera cases in the rebel-held capital, Sana'a. There are also suspected incidents in the central city of Taiz, where the mainly Shiite Houthi rebels are besieging local pro-government forces.

Yemen's conflict has intensified since March 2015, when mostly Shiite rebels advanced on the port city of Aden, prompting Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni allies to start an air campaign against the group.

As early as May 2015, British charity Oxfam warned of a risk of cholera as two-thirds of the country's population had no access to safe drinking water.

Clashes, a sea embargo imposed by the Saudi-led coalition, and roadblocks inside the country have all made it difficult to supply fuel needed for pumping systems that provide drinking water.

Last update: Fri, 07/10/2016 - 21:25

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