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Yemen now fighting epidemic of dengue fever: Red Cross

By AFP

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Yemenis displaced from an area near the Saudi border and believed to be suffering from dengue fever rest in the clinic of a makeshift camp in the country's northern Hajjah province, on October 19th. [Essa Ahmed/AFP]

Yemen is now grappling with an epidemic of dengue fever, adding to its woes of war and cholera, the Red Cross said Monday (November 25th).

While UN officials recently said the intensity of the war has eased, Yemen still faces a very dire humanitarian situation, said Robert Mardini, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross's delegation at the UN.

"We have been recently extremely worried and concerned by reports of dengue outbreak, in addition to cholera," Mardini told a gathering of journalists.

More than 3,500 people have reportedly come down with dengue fever and in the city of al-Hodeidah, 50 are thought to have died from late October to early November, he added.

In that region of Yemen more than 2,000 people are infected with dengue and close to 3,000 suffer from malaria, Mardini added.

"It is a big challenge to be able to control this epidemic," the official said.

Dengue fever is transmitted mainly by mosquitos that breed in stagnant water.

The civil war in Yemen between the legitimate government and the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) has left tens of thousands of people dead since it broke out in 2015, most of them civilians, relief organisations say.

It has generated the worst humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world, the UN says.

Yemeni Minister of Local Administration Abdel Raqib Fatah told Al-Mashareq on November 12th that the Houthis and their military coup are largely to blame for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

In addition to diverting humanitarian aid intended for the Yemeni people, he said, the militia is also accused of failing to accept a peaceful solution to the conflict.

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