More than 100,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported among children under the age of 15 in Yemen since the start of the year —more than twice the number during the same period in 2018.
Children account for nearly half (45 percent) of all the new cases. Altogether, there were 236,550 cases of suspected cholera between January 1 and April 19, 2019. Of these, 105,384 were in children under 15. Almost half these cases were recorded in the last month alone — nine times as many as in the same period last year.
Save the Children is warning that recent heavy rains, flash floods, fuel shortages and ongoing fighting despite the first steps toward a peace process in Stockholm last December, are adding to the chaos of four years of war to create perfect conditions for cholera to spread faster and further in the coming months.
Fuel shortages and a spike in fuel prices are limiting the pumping of sewage, clean water supply and garbage collection. Many families have been unable to take their children to health facilities because they cannot afford the soaring cost of transport. Many people rely on buying clean water from trucks, but with the rising fuel prices, the cost is increasing, forcing some people to turn to dirty water sources.
Save the Children has warned that in places where fighting is continuing, the numbers of cholera cases could increase dramatically. It is feared that in Hajjah, in the northwest of the country, fighting could cut access to the only water source for 200,000 people who are already vulnerable to the disease because many have been displaced by conflict and face high levels of food insecurity.
After an outbreak infected more than one million people in 2017, the disease was partially contained during 2018.
Source: Save The Children