Cholera.. A third wave of the epidemic strikes the exhausted Yemen

Again, the cholera epidemic is ringing the alarm in Yemen, with signs and warnings mounting from a third wave of the epidemic in two years, amid warnings that the war-weary and poverty-stricken country would be swept to the brink of the abyss.


Since mid-June the epidemic has begun to head back, when some health centers in the city of Hodeidah (Western) have recorded cases showing symptoms of the epidemic, disturbing and terrorizing the population.


In Sanhan District, south of Sana'a City, the symptoms of the epidemic were shown on the farmer's son, "Ali Rozig," in mid-July, and the four-year-old August was immediately transferred to the “22 May" (government) Medical compound in Sana'a.


The analysis confirmed that the child was already infected with cholera, which the Yemenis believed had been dumped late last year.


The father spent two days in Sana'a travelling with a child between clinics and the family of the health complex to heal, and on his way back, which lasted more than half an hour, he put the odds in his head around the source of the epidemic, and said, "It may be the village well."


The day after he returned to his village, Ruzig was renting a small bus this time back to Sana'a, in order to save his three children from death. The epidemic was rampant in his small family, after his symptoms were evident.

"Cholera" is a disease that causes severe diarrhea that can take the patient's life within hours if he does not meet treatment, and children, who are malnourished and under 5 years of age, are particularly at risk of infection.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cholera can be successfully treated through a patient's oral rehydration solution, and critical cases require rapid treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.


According to a recent study, cholera kills some 91, 000 out of 2.8 million people infected in endemic areas every year, and an estimated 1 billion people in 50 countries are threatened by the risk of infection.


The country, devastated by the four-year-old wars and the famine that threatens millions, has seen two waves of epidemic outbreaks, the first of which has lasted since late September 2016, until February 2017. The second started late April 2017 and remained until early November of the same year.


The week before the past, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said it had detected 2311 cases of cholera deaths in Yemen. She warned that the number of suspected cases of HIV/AIDS had reached over 1 million and 118 thousand cases over the past 13 months.


"Health authorities and relief organizations are working around the clock to prevent the resurgence of cholera, yet the deteriorating health system and the challenges of continuing the conflict are undermining these efforts," it said.


On the one hand, the UN coordinator in Yemen, Lisa Grande, said last Monday, talking about the air raids by Arab coalition fighters, which targeted a water station in the city of Hodeidah last Friday, that cholera is already in the neighborhood in all areas of the city and province Hodeidah.


She noted that the raids on the city of Hodeidah and the destruction of the city of Hodeidah supply station with the majority of its water needs put innocent civilians at serious risk, amid fears of a resurgence of the epidemic.



Damage to sanitation, water and sanitation is endangering all our efforts, and only one more air strike may cause an unstoppable outbreak of the epidemic, "she said.


By the summer, the epidemic appears to have found the environment to be re-emerging, with rainfall, a hot and humid climate, a lack of clean water and a shortage of medicines and medical staff.


Last summer, the epidemic reached its peak, specifically in June and July July 2017, with an average of 27 people dying from the epidemic           every day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).


Most of its 37 cholera control centers in Yemen were closed by the charitable organization "Médecins sans Frontières" in late October last year, after the epidemic subsided.


However, recent developments may prompt international organizations to resume their efforts in the fight against cholera, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Health of the al-Houthi government (not recognized), Yusuf al-Hadhri, for Anadolu Agency.


The epidemic will return to the outbreak again if international organizations do not remedy the situation, he said. "Since the beginning of July, we discover every single day of 5-10 cases of cholera in al-Hodeidah (west), Amran (northern) and Sana'a, and these ratios are rising some days and dropping in others," he said. Those figures and indicators on the ground were creating a resurgence of the epidemic.


According to the minister, the Ministry of Health has put in place a complete plan to fight the epidemic and prevent its outbreak again, but it can be said that the plan will only be implemented in cooperation with international health organizations, since the Ministry of Health does not have the necessary support and capacity.


"The Aggression (the Arab Coalition led by Saudi Arabia) destroyed the health structure of Yemen, the latest of which was the aerial bombardment by the fighter jets of a water plant in Hodeidah, which could lead people to rely on unclean water," he said.


He called on international organizations to quickly equip Yemenis with the necessary medicines to fight cholera. The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier warned of a deteriorating health situation in the city of Hodeidah.

"Today the directorates of the province of Hodeidah register the largest number of cholera cases (not specified) and suffer the highest malnutrition rates in Yemen," said the organization.


The situation in the city of Hodeidah is becoming more dangerous every day and the reality on the ground is darker. In the cholera treatment section of the "22 May" compound, some 55 patients are on a close family, and a young girl who showed signs of emaciation and weakness, the effect of diarrhea and repeated vomiting.


The right farmer's shadow licked the head of a child, to sleep.


And with a tired face, he says to Anadolu,  "We narrowed from everywhere.. War, killing, starvation and disease. "


More than three years ago, Yemen suffered from a war between government forces and armed men of the "Ansar Allah" (Al-Houthi), who control governorates, including Sanaa, since 2014.


An Arab military Coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, has been supporting Yemeni government forces since 2015 in the face of al-Houthi, accused of receiving Iranian support.


The ongoing war has left very poor living and health conditions, and most of Yemen's population is in need of humanitarian assistance.

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