(AFP) The United Nations on Thursday confirmed 58 cases of cholera and 47 cholera-associated deaths across war-torn Yemen in the past two weeks, the second such outbreak in a year.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said laboratory testing had confirmed the highly contagious infection in 10 governorates across Yemen, where less than half of the country’s medical facilities are functional two years into a deadly war between government forces and Huthi insurgents.
Another 2,301 suspected cases were identified in governorates including Sanaa, home to the country’s capital, where more than 30 percent of the cases were diagnosed.
Cases were also reported in governorates in the north, south and along the Red Sea coast, OCHA said.
Cholera, a highly infectious diarrhoeal disease, is contracted by ingesting contaminated water or food. If not treated within hours, it can become fatal.
Soaring rates of poverty and a blockade on the country’s Red Sea ports have left millions struggling to access food and clean water as the Saudi-supported government continues to fight Iran-backed Huthis for control of the country.
The UN, which has called Yemen “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world”, estimates more than 7,000 people have been killed since a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened to support Yemen’s government in 2015.
The World Health Organization now classifies Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq.
Two-thirds of the country’s population are on the brink of famine, according to the UN.