Yemen’s Cholera Outbreak Expected to Double By the End of the Year
An ongoing cholera epidemic ravaging war-torn Yemen is expected to at least double by the end of the year, marking the worst outbreak since the beginning of the Cold War, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced Sunday.
ICRC President Peter Maurer said the outbreak was a direct result of a civil war that has lasted for more than two years between a Saudi-led military coalition backed by the United States and Houthi rebels backed by Iran.
He said the conflict has devastated the nation’s health system and crippled access to safe drinking water.
"The great tragedy is that this cholera outbreak is a preventable, man-made humanitarian catastrophe," Maurer said in a statement.
"Further deaths can be prevented, but warring parties must ease restrictions and allow the import of medicines, food, and essential supplies and they must show restraint in the way they conduct warfare."
The report came as the number of Yemenis killed by the disease exceeded 1,800.
Cholera, a highly contagious diarrheal infection spread through water contaminated by human waste, can be efficiently treated with the immediate replacement of lost fluids.
The United Nations announced last week that it was suspending plans to deploy one million doses of cholera vaccines to Yemen because the rapid spread of the disease and logistical challenges perpetuated by the war would make the effort ineffective.
The war has left less than 45 percent of Yemen’s medical facilities operational and both warring sides have blocked aid groups from delivering desperately needed food and medical supplies.
A Senate resolution introduced by Young in April urging President Donald Trump to address the crisis has yet to move.