Yemen continues to suffer from a lack of clean drinking water on account of the war, and in the first three months of this year there has been a sharp increase in the number of suspected cholera cases:
Nearly 110,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported in war-hit Yemen since the beginning of January, including 190 related deaths, the UN said on Monday.
The UN office for humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said children under the age of five make up nearly a third of 108,889 cases which were reported between January 1 and March 17 [bold mine-DL].
OCHA said the spike, which comes two years after Yemen suffered its worst cholera outbreak, was concentrated in six governorates including in the Red Sea port of Hodeida and the Sanaa province home to the capital.
The spread of preventable diseases is an ongoing threat to the civilian population in Yemen, and the terrible conditions that allow for the spread of cholera have not changed since the major outbreak in 2017. Not only are many millions of Yemenis weakened by hunger, but that malnutrition makes them much more vulnerable to contracting diseases and more likely to die from them. The country’s health care system is severely damaged by the bombing campaign and the remaining facilities are overtaxed by the enormous demands put on it by widespread malnutrition, the cholera epidemic, other diseases, and injuries from bombing and shelling. The economic crisis brought on in large part by Saudi coalition policies has made it so that many families cannot afford to provide their children with both food and proper medical treatment, and in some cases they are not able to provide either. Cholera is a preventable and treatable disease, but thanks to the war it continues to ravage Yemenis by the hundreds of thousands.
The country is still suffering from multiple, overlapping humanitarian crises that are especially dangerous to the youngest and weakest members of the civilian population. Famine and pestilence will keep plaguing the people of Yemen as long as the war continues, and the war won’t end when the U.S. is still backing the Saudi coalition’s campaign. A first and critical step to ending the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is to end U.S. involvement in the war.