UN sounds alarm over Yemen’s cholera crisis

The United Nations is sounding the alarm on a “rapidly worsening” cholera outbreak in Yemen, with over 40,000 suspected cases reported since October 2023. 

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths expressed deep concern, particularly as the majority of cases (over 34,000) are concentrated in Houthi-controlled areas. 

This represents a threefold increase in reported cases compared to just a month ago.

Heavy rains and flooding are expected to exacerbate the situation, raising fears of a spiraling crisis. 

The UN and its partners are scrambling to contain the outbreak, but their efforts are hampered by a severe lack of funding. The 2024 humanitarian response plan, estimated at $2.7 billion, is only 16% funded, leaving millions at risk.

“The consequences of inaction are of course familiar,” warned Griffiths. Between 2016 and 2021, cholera claimed the lives of roughly 4,000 Yemenis, primarily children.

This outbreak adds another layer of suffering to a country already ravaged by conflict. Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014, pitting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels against the Saudi-backed government. 

While hostilities have subsided in recent months, the underlying instability fuels the humanitarian crisis.

The UN is urging the international community to step up and bridge the funding gap. 

Urgent action is needed to prevent the cholera outbreak from spiraling out of control and further jeopardizing the lives of millions of Yemenis.

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