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Yemen: Fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded brings number of cases to 895,000

02 Nov 2017
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The general manager of Al-Thawra Hospital in Al-Hudaydah gives ERC Lowcock an overview of the services provided by the hospital. The hospital receives patients from at least three neighboring regions and is overcrowded. Credit: OCHA

Yemen is facing one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, including the fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded. As of 1 November, there were some 895,000 suspected cholera cases with nearly 2,200 associated deaths since 27 April. More than half of the suspected cases are children.

The outbreak is affecting over 90 per cent of districts across 21 of the 22 governorates. Despite the enormous challenges, humanitarian partners have established 234 Diarrhoea Treatment Centres and 1,084 Oral Rehydration Corners in 225 affected districts in 20 governorates. Some 3.6 million people have been connected to disinfected water supply networks in 12 governorates. Over 17 million people in all governorates were reached with cholera prevention messages.

Yemen is also facing the world’s largest food emergency and widespread population displacement. Nearly 21 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance, seven million of whom are severely food insecure, staving off the threat of famine. Despite challenging conditions and limited funding, UN and humanitarian partners provided direct assistance to more than 7 million people this year.

“The humanitarian response to the world’s worst hunger crisis and its worst cholera outbreak must be fully resourced”, said ERC Lowcock during his recent mission to Yemen. “With only two months left in the year, the UN Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is only 56 per cent funded. I know that we can do more.”

ERC Lowcock called on donors to step up their support to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan to ensure the most effective and coordinated response across the country. “Across the country, and on both sides of the frontline, Yemenis are being kept alive by brave humanitarian aid workers, working under extremely difficult conditions”, ERC Lowcock said. “We are able to be effective because we remain impartial, neutral and independent, under the strong leadership of our Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and his committed team. But we need to do more – and we need more support.”