Yemen now facing cholera epidemic

There is growing concern for the people of Yemen after a recent outbreak of cholera. It’s reported more than 1,100 people have died so far, with some 159,000 further cases registered, and between 2,000–3,000 people infected every day.
 
Mahri, a mother of five children who fled her village due to the fighting is struggling to survive. She says: ‘I wish I could go back to my home village. Nothing waits for me here but death.’ 
 
For people like Mahri hope and dignity are in short supply. She survives by working as a servant for families who themselves are displaced by war. She and her children can only wash if it rains as there simply isn’t enough water.
 
One of many
Mahri’s story is not unique. There are 18.8 million people in urgent need, that’s 69 per cent of Yemen’s population.
 
Ongoing conflict has seen intense bombing, leaving many of Yemen’s medical facilities out of action. Meanwhile, many people can’t afford to travel to hospital to receive care. 
 
On 15 June the UN Security Council released a statement saying the spread of cholera is ‘the latest indicator of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis [facing the country].’
 
Stopping the spread
In December 2016, Tearfund supporters raised £1.5 million for the Yemen Crisis Appeal (alongside the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal).

Guy Calvert-Lee is Deputy Head of Tearfund’s Eurasia programme. He explains what is being done to help: ‘Tearfund is working with partners to reach the people in most need, by distributing food and water straightaway and by working to improve the collection of rainwater and the storage of spring water for the future. 
 
‘Our partners are working to prevent cholera from spreading even further by distributing prevention kits including items such as water containers, chlorine tablets and soap, and by promoting hygiene messages such as hand-washing.’
 
Tearfund will continue to work with partners and other agencies to support people like Mahri through this crisis.


Written by Andrew Horton, News Editor, Tearfund.

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