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ICRC says 600,000 Yemenis could contract cholera in 2017

By AFP - Jul 24,2017 - Last updated at Jul 24,2017

A vendor waits for customers at his shop in the old quarter of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, on Saturday (Reuters photo)

ADEN, Yemen — More than 600,000 people are expected to contract cholera in Yemen this year, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Sunday as the war-torn country's healthcare system faces collapse.

Separately, the United Nations warned that 10 million Yemeni civilians are in acute need of life-saving aid as the country teeters on the edge of famine.

One in every 45 Yemenis will contract cholera by December as "a direct consequence of a conflict that has devastated civilian infrastructure and brought the whole health system to its knees", the ICRC said in a statement. 

More than 370,000 people have fallen ill and 1,800 have died since late April in Yemen's second cholera outbreak in less than a year, according to the ICRC and the World Health Organisation. 

The UN said on Sunday that over 20 million of the country's 27 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including nearly 10 million in acute need of life-saving food, water and medicine. 

A war between the Saudi-backed government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels has claimed the lives of thousands of Yemenis and displaced millions.

A string of vital ports along the country's Red Sea coastline are blockaded, leaving millions of people with limited access to food and medicine. 

Less than half of the country's medical facilities are currently functional.

 

The war in Yemen, one of the world's most impoverished countries, has killed more than 8,000 people and wounded a further 44,500 since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the conflict in 2015. 

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