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Famine worsens as cholera hits Yemen

Humanitarian resources eaten up in fighting deadly disease

MORE Yemenis could starve to death this summer as the cholera outbreak in the country runs down vital aid resources, the United Nations warned yesterday.

UN Yemen aid chief Jamie McGoldrick said that 923 people have died in the outbreak, which began last October, and there were 124,002 suspected cases — one in 200 people.

He warned that grim total could double by September.

Efforts to fight cholera have pulled resources away from battling famine — with the UN saying it wouldn’t be able to keep food flowing in past September.

The Red Cross warns the spread is accelerating, with its Yemen health chief saying on Tuesday that “more than 5,000 suspected new cases have been reported daily during the past week.”

About 14 million people — three-fifths of Yemen’s population — rely on food aid, with seven million at serious risk of starving to death. More than 80 per cent of the population urgently need some form of humanitarian aid.

That’s the result of over two years of war, with a Saudi Arabian-led coalition bombarding the country with British and US-supplied weapons in a bid to put their man Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi back in power and defeat the Houthi rebels that ousted him.

Red Cross delegation head Alexandre Faite said the war had brought the health system “to the brink of collapse,” with cholera “only the most recent proof” of the utter devastation.

Almost 15 million people have no safe water or sanitation, which Mr Faite blamed on “the attacks on and lack of maintenance of water and sewage systems in addition to the severe restrictions on the import of critical goods such as spare parts and fuel.”

Those restrictions are part of the coalition’s war plan. Late last year, Oxfam GB chief Mark Goldring described how “first there were restrictions on imports — including much-needed food. When this was partially eased the cranes in the ports were bombed, then the warehouses, then the roads and the bridges.

“This is not by accident — it is systematic.”

The war has killed at least 4,800 Yemenis and injured 13,000. But the true figure is far higher since less than half of health clinics, where the statistics are gathered, are operational.

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