Yemen cholera death toll reaches 184: ICRC
Mohammed HUWAIS (AFP)
A cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen has killed 184 people in recent weeks with another 11,000 suspected cases across the country, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday.
The figures cover the period of April 27 to date, an ICRC spokesperson told AFP.
The toll marks a sharp increase from Sunday's count of 115 deaths and 8,500 suspected cases of cholera, a highly contagious bacterial infection contracted by ingesting contaminated food or water.
Yemen's health ministry, which is run by the Huthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, have declared a state of emergency over the outbreak, the second in less than a year, as hospitals struggle to cope with the influx of patients.
More than half the country's medical facilities are no longer functioning two years into a devastating war between the Iran-backed Huthi rebels and government forces allied with a Saudi-led Arab military coalition.
Authorities in Sanaa, which is controlled by Shiite rebels, have declared a state of emergency over the deadly outbreak, and international relief agencies have collectively warned of a catastrophic humanitarian situation.
The Huthi-run health ministry said cases of cholera had worsened and that it was "unable to contain this disaster", in a statement carried overnight by the rebels' Saba news agency.
Hafid bin Salem Mohammed, the rebel health minister, said the "scale of the disease is beyond the capacity" of his department, in a statement on Huthi-run Al-Masira television.
Humanitarian agencies have urged citizens to exercise hygiene precautions as lack of access to clean water, a shortage of medical supplies and understaffed clinics leave experts struggling to contain the spread of the disease.
This is the second outbreak of cholera, a bacterial infection contracted through ingesting contaminated food or water, in less than a year in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country.
Yemen's war has killed more than 8,000 people and wounded some 40,000, according to the World Health Organization.
The United Nations has warned two-thirds of the population is on the brink of famine in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest nation.
The World Health Organization now classifies Yemen as a level three emergency, alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq.
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