Save The Children: Saudi-led Siege of Hodeidah could Spark Catastrophic Cholera
The resumption of the Saudi-led air aggression on Yemeni‘s main port city of Hodeidah could create ideal conditions for a catastrophic new cholera outbreak that could affect thousands of people, the international non-profit organization Save the Children has warned.
On Friday, Saudi Arabia and other US-backed states launched heavy air strikes on Hodeidah, bringing to an end a nearly month-long hiatus which the United Nations hoped would aid efforts at a political solution to the conflict.
An estimated 350,000 people remain in Hodeidah, where Save the Children says already-paltry clean water facilities have been further decimated by the Saudi-led offensive in the region, which began in June.
Now, the resumption of the bombing campaign — coupled with the arrival of summer— could make Hodeidah “ground zero” for a fresh cholera outbreak, according to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International.
“Cholera could spread like wildfire in Yemen, potentially infecting thousands of children and completely overwhelming an already crippled health system,” said Thorning-Schmidt after a recent visit to Yemen. “Many hospitals have been reduced to rubble, and those that are still standing are barely functioning.”
A bacterial disease caused by consuming contaminated water and food, cholera can induce severe watery diarrhea and dehydration leading to death, according to the World Health Organization [WHO]. The disease spreads rapidly in places that lack adequate water-treatment facilities.
With Hodeidah residents now forced to contend with both the oppressive heat of the summer months as well as the considerable firepower of the Saudi-led coalition, doctors say they are “terrified” at the prospect of a cholera epidemic worse than last year’s.
Malnourished children are particularly vulnerable to contracting cholera.
“Three years of war have created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and the tragedy of Yemen is that this crisis is entirely man-made. Children’s suffering is the direct result of the tactics and actions of all parties to the conflict, and it can end,” said Thorning-Schmidt.
“All sides must allow aid agencies like ours to have full, unimpeded humanitarian access to save lives. The international community must also step up its support for health and sanitation so that we can prevent another outbreak of this merciless disease.”
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team