Home / World

Cholera, hunger, conflict push Yemen to 'edge of a cliff', UN official says

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-03 07:15

NEW YORK - A deadly cholera outbreak and looming famine threatens to sink war-torn Yemen into an even deeper crisis, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.

Auke Lootsma, UN Development Program Country Director, compared the situation in the country to a bus "racing toward the edge of a cliff".

Instead of hitting the brakes and turning around, "the one controlling the direction of the bus keeps going and pushes the accelerator, all but certain to crash," Lootsma said via teleconference from the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Cholera, hunger, conflict push Yemen to 'edge of a cliff', UN official says

"Historically, Yemen has been one of the poorest Arab nations - if not the poorest - with poverty and corruption, poor governance and poor infrastructure. The war has simply made it much worse," he added.

Lootsma said that the Yemeni people are enduring incredible hardship, with 70 percent of the population - some 20 million people - in need of humanitarian assistance. Additionally, some 400,000 cases of cholera recorded in the past few months have resulted in 1,900 deaths.

Due to the scope of the crisis combined with a lack of funding and access, humanitarian groups "are asked to cover gaps that are well beyond" their mandates and capacities, he said.

The country is on the brink of famine, with 60 percent of the population not knowing where its next meal is coming from, Lootsma added.

"The current food security crisis is a man-made disaster not only resulting from decades of poverty and underinvestment, but also as a war tactic through economic strangulation," he said.

"The collapse of the health, water and sanitation sector due to a lack of salaries and damaged infrastructure" has exacerbated the situation, he said, with almost half of the health facilities no longer functioning because they are partly or completely damaged.

What makes the situation worse is that "doctors and nurses are not coming to work because they have not been paid and looking for income elsewhere."

With almost 1.2 million civil servants having not been paid since September 2016, many businesses have collapsed.

Lootsma called on the international community to redouble its efforts, warning that time is running out to end the crisis.


 Cholera, hunger, conflict push Yemen to 'edge of a cliff', UN official says

People gather around a charity tanker truck to fill up their jerrycans with drinking water in Bajil of the Red Sea province of Hodeidah, Yemen, on July 29.Abduljabbar Zeyad / Reuters

(China Daily 08/03/2017 page11)

Today's Top News

Editor's picks

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349