Health authorities in Yemen confirmed a cholera outbreak on Thursday, 6 October, posing an increased health risk to the population-especially children-given the crumbling health system in the country.

Image/UNICEF Yemen  Twitter (cropped)
Image/UNICEF Yemen Twitter (cropped)

“This outbreak adds to the misery of millions of children in Yemen. We are supporting health centres to prevent and treat cholera cases and will continue working with partners to scale up the response and stem out this dangerous disease”, said Unicef Representative in Yemen, Julien Harneis.

Health authorities announced that cholera cases have been confirmed in the capital, Sana’a while others are suspected in the southwestern city of Taiz. Unicef and partners are working to establish the exact scale of the outbreak. If not treated, severe cases of cholera can kill up to 15% of people affected in just a few hours.

“Children are at a particularly high risk if the current cholera outbreak is not urgently contained especially since the health system in Yemen is crumbling as the conflict continues. Mr. Harneis said. “We appeal to all donors to support health facilities across Yemen so that civilians in need get medical assistance”.

Unicef in partnership with the World Health Organization is supporting the response to the outbreak through delivering and securing safe water and water purification supplies.

Unicef has in place 57 Diarrheal Disease Kits, each containing medicine, including Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) enough to treat 100 severe or 400 mild cases of cholera. In addition, 20,000 hygiene kits with soap, towels, shampoo and washing powder are ready to be distributed.

Unicef is providing information to the public on how to prevent cholera through using water from safe sources, treating water stored at home, keeping good hygiene and clean surroundings, and getting medical assistance as soon as any member of the family develops diarrhea or other symptoms.