Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, requesting information about steps the State Department is taking to combat the deadly outbreak of dengue fever in Yemen, where many of her constituents are trapped amid ongoing hostilities.
“My constituents are reporting that they have family members in Yemen who are suffering from dengue fever and have no access to medication, hospitals, doctors, or in some cases even clean drinking water,” Dingell said. “U.S. leadership is required to contain this outbreak and ensure that patients receive the treatment they need. The people of Yemen need assistance now to combat this deadly disease.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there are more than 3,000 cases of dengue fever in Yemen, and some outside groups have reported twice as many cases as the WHO estimates. Patients suffering from dengue fever require fluids, monitoring by a physician, and hospitalization in severe cases.
“A negotiated solution to the ongoing conflict is the best way to address this emerging public health crisis in Yemen,”Dingell wrote in her letter to Secretary Kerry. “I applaud your efforts in starting a dialogue with the Saudis, the UN, and other relevant parties to find a peaceful solution to this conflict. However, the people of Yemen need assistance now to combat this outbreak of dengue fever.”
The letter can be read in full here.
Michigan is home to one of the largest populations of Arab Americans in the country, and some 9 percent of the Arab American community in the Detroit and Dearborn area has roots in Yemen.
Congresswoman Dingell has been in close contact with State Department officials since the crisis in Yemen began. She wrote to Secretary Kerry in April urging the State Department to prioritize the evacuation of American citizens in Yemen and improve communication with families.