Yemenis recount horrors of cholera epidemic

Yemeni child, suspected of being infected with cholera, receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sana’a, May 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Yemeni child, suspected of being infected with cholera, receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sana’a, May 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Swarming Al-Sabeen Hospital in the capital Sana’a, Yemeni medics and civilians have cited horrifying accounts of how a cholera epidemic is wreaking havoc in the war-torn country. 

The World Health Organization said on Friday that Yemen could have as many as 300,000 cases of cholera within six months and an “extremely high” number of deaths. The outbreak has  claimed the lives of 242 people over the previous three weeks.

Doctor Nabil al-Najar, the hospital’s deputy head, told the Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal on Sunday that the facility received at least 200 new cases every day, in addition to patients who have been injured in airstrikes.

“Here we put three children in one bed, and there we put a husband, his wife and their child in one bed; the hospital has no more beds,” Najar said. “We also have a shortage in medicine and we cannot cope with the increasing number of patients,” he added.

A Yemeni man suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sana’a on May 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A mother who brought in her three-year-old said, “I brought my son to Al-Sabeen Hospital after many other hospitals refused to admit him because there were no more beds to receive him.”

“I hope the war will end, the economic blockade will be lifted, cholera will be defeated and my son will recover very soon,” she added.

The war has been waged to restore power to Yemen’s Saudi-allied government. It has fallen short of the objective while killing thousands of civilians and pulverizing Yemen’s infrastructure in the process.

To compound the situation, Saudi Arabia has imposed a naval blockade over Yemen’s entire coastline, claiming it would prevent the transfer of arms to groups defending the nation against the war.

A woman said, “Doctors told me there were no more beds available for my children and put the children on a blanket on the ground in the corridor to receive treatment.”

Another woman told the MEE that her 20-year-old daughter Zikriya had gone into a coma after suffering from severe diarrhea and vomiting.

More fatalities

On Sunday, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported that Saudi strikes against the west-central Sana’a Province’s Bani Hushaysh District had killed four civilians.

Yemeni Army snipers, who have been retaliating against the warfare, also killed a Saudi troop targeting the kingdom’s border region of Asir, it said.

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