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Cholera epidemic reaches half million mark in war-torn Yemen: WHO

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-14 21:15

SANAA - The total number of suspected cholera cases in war-torn Yemen reached half a million mark since late April, the highest record since the World War II, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

In a press release, WHO also said nearly 2,000 people died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April.

It said the suspected cases of the deadly waterborne disease continue to rage across the Arab country, infecting an estimated 5000 people per day.

The spread of cholera has slowed significantly in some areas compared to peak levels but the disease is still spreading fast in more recently affected districts, which are recording large numbers of the cases, said WHO.

WHO said Yemen's cholera epidemic, currently the largest in the world, has spread rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and disruptions to the water supply across the country.

Millions of people are cut off from clean water, and waste collection has ceased in major cities, it added.

It said the collapsing health system is struggling to cope, with more than half of all health facilities closed due to damage, destruction or lack of funds.

"Shortages in medicines and supplies are persistent and widespread and 30,000 critical health workers have not been paid salaries in nearly a year," WHO said.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom said Yemen's health workers are operating in impossible conditions.

"Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water. The doctors and nurses are the backbone of the health response. They must be paid their wages so that they can continue to save lives," Dr Tedros was quoted in the press release as saying.

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