34 dead of suspected cholera as Yemen outbreak spreads

Thirty-four people have died of cholera-related causes and more than 2,000 have been taken ill in Yemen, as humanitarian organisations warned Tuesday (May 9th) that the outbreak could spiral out of control, AFP reported.

This is the second wave of cholera-associated deaths in a year in Yemen, where conflict has destroyed hospitals and left millions struggling to access food and clean water.

"There have been 34 cholera-associated deaths and 2,022 cases of acute watery diarrhoea in nine governorates, including Sanaa, during the period of April 27th to May 7th," a World Health Organisation official said.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Tuesday it had independently treated more than 780 cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea since March 30th in Yemen, calling the hike in numbers an "outbreak".

"We are very concerned that the disease will continue to spread and become out of control," said MSF head of mission in Yemen Shinjiro Murata, calling for urgent humanitarian assistance to be scaled up to limit the spread of the outbreak.

MSF said patients were travelling dozens of kilometres, in difficult conditions, to reach treatment centres.

Yemen's public health ministry has reported 310 cases of suspected cholera in Sanaa, where sanitation workers are on strike over weeks of unpaid wages, leaving the streets lined with garbage and sewage pipes clogged.

Sewer water flooded the streets Tuesday as the city was hit by heavy rain.

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