The Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation in Yemen has warned that the country’s healthcare system is on “the brink of collapse” due to the increasing number of Yemenis with cholera.
“Two years of armed conflict have brought Yemen’s health system to the brink of collapse,” explained Alexandre Faite. “This cholera outbreak is only the most recent, and most visible, proof that people and structures have been seriously weakened by the way this conflict is being waged.”
The Red Cross official blamed attacks on the water and sewage systems, and the lack of maintenance of both, as well as the severe restrictions on the import of critical goods such as spare parts and fuel, for the current crisis. “This has led to a situation where millions of people have no access to clean water,” he pointed out.
The ICRC’s Health Coordinator in Yemen, Maria del Pilar Bauza Moreno, revealed that more than 5,000 suspected new cases of cholera have been reported daily during the past week. “The spread of the disease, which started just over a month ago, is accelerating.”
Based on information from the health authorities in Sanaa, the ICRC said that the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen exceeded 124,000 two days ago, with more than 900 people dead as a result of infection.
According to one report, four ICRC planes carrying large quantities of chlorine, IV fluids and other medical supplies, have been flown to Yemen over the past few weeks. The report noted that the Red Cross is also sending 200,000 vials of insulin to Sanaa and Aden to support health structures that are struggling to treat patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes.