Cholera has killed at least 115 people in the Yemeni capital Sana’a after authorities on Sunday declared a state of emergency over the outbreak and called for international help to avert disaster.
Sana’a is controlled by the Houthi movement, which is fighting a Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition. More than 10,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in more than two years of war, which has also destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure.
Only a few medical facilities are still functioning and two-thirds of the populations are without access to safe drinking water, the United Nations has said, Reuters reported.
“What is happening today exceeds the capabilities of any healthy health system, so how can we (cope) when we are in these difficult and complicated conditions,” Saba quoted the administration’s health minister Mohammed Salem bin Hafeedh as saying.
The ministry, after meeting in Sana’a with UN Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick and other international officials, called on humanitarian organizations and aid donors to help it avert an “unprecedented disaster”.
It declared a “state of health emergency in the capital,” the agency said.
Saba said 8,595 suspected cholera cases were recorded in Sana’a and other Yemeni provinces between April 27 and May 13, while laboratory confirmed cases were 213.
The acute diarrhoeal disease, which can be fatal within hours if left untreated, has killed 115 people, the agency said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier put the death toll at 51. It has also said that 7.6 million people in Yemen live in areas at high risk of cholera transmission.
A cholera epidemic late last year petered out but outbreaks are becoming more frequent.
Sana’a has been worst hit, followed by the surrounding province of Amanat al-Semah, WHO data has shown. Cases have also been reported in other major cities including Hodeidah, Taiz and Aden.
Some 17 million of Yemen’s 26 million people lack sufficient food and at least three million malnourished children are in “grave peril”, the UN has also said.