Amid a continuing civil war, poor medical services and widespread poverty, the number of people hit by cholera in Yemen has reached 612,703 since the outbreak began in April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced yesterday.
According to data from the WHO and the Yemeni health ministry, the overall spread of the epidemic has slowed in the past two months, however, some 3,000 new daily cases have been reported in recent days.
The data also showed that 2,048 people have died since the outbreak.
Many international and local humanitarian organisations have been providing Yemenis with medical, financial and social support.
Nearly 15 million Yemenis remain cut off from adequate health services, clean water and waste collection as a result of the war, the UN organisation said.
The man-made epidemic spreads through the ingestion of food or water tainted with human faeces. It can kill humans within hours if they have not been medically treated. Malnourished children who are under the age of five years are likely to be hit by the epidemic.
The disease was also reported to have been largely eradicated in developed countries equipped with sanitation systems and water treatment.
Yemen has been racked by war since September 2014, when Houthi Shia rebels swept into the capital, Sanaa, and overthrew President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The fighting escalated in March 2015 when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States began a campaign against Houthi forces in a bid to restore Hadi’s government. Since then the Iranian-backed Houthis have been dislodged from most of the south, but remain in control of Sanaa and much of the north.
UN officials say the conflict has already killed over 10,000 people and displaced millions more, gutting the country’s health, water and sanitation systems.