The number of Yemenis infected with cholera is expected to rise to more than 300,000 by the end of August, the United Nations children’s agency says.
“Probably at the end of August we will reach 300,000” cases up from nearly 193,000 cases today, UNICEF spokeswoman Meritxell Relano told reporters in Geneva on a conference call on Friday.
She added that an estimated 1,265 people had lost their lives since the outbreak was declared in April.
“The number of cases continue to increase,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the epidemic had affected all of Yemen’s 21 governorates.
Relano said children were the most affected by the outbreak as they accounted for half of the registered cases so far. She said only a quarter of the people who had died until then were children.
Cholera, which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration, is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and could prove fatal in up to 15 percent of untreated cases.
The ongoing Saudi campaign against Yemen has destroyed the country’s health sector, making it difficult to deal with the epidemic.
Over two years of war and conflict have reduced Yemen’s public healthcare capabilities by 55 percent. All operating hospitals and clinics are now over-burdened by the epidemic for lack of medicine, equipment and staff.
Nearly 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition.
International organizations, including the United Nations and the Red Cross, say the Saudi war and an embargo may be responsible for the cholera epidemic.
The UN’s World Food Program has described the situation in Yemen as “the largest humanitarian crisis happening in the world at the moment.”