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WHO warns of cholera outbreak in Yemen as suspected cases double

A girl lies on a bed at a cholera treatment center in Sana’a, Yemen, on October 29, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against a significant cholera outbreak in Yemen as the Saudi aggression against its impoverished neighbor enters its twentieth month.

The UN agency made the announcement on Monday, saying the outbreak was linked to two reports over a span of 12 days that showed a double increase from 2,070 suspected cases on November 1, to 4,119 cases by November 13 in 11 provinces across the Arab country.

"The numbers of cholera cases in Yemen continue to increase, sparking concerns of a significant outbreak," the WHO warned in its report.

More than half of all health facilities in Yemen are closed or partially functioning, and there are critical shortages in medical doctors in more than 40 percent of all districts, according to the health organization.

Reports indicate that eight people had died in the outbreak and as many as 56 others had lost their lives due to acute diarrhea.

The WHO said the largest cholera caseload was in the southwestern Yemeni provinces of Ta'izz and Aden, adding that 29 "hot" districts and nine other provinces had been affected with the disease, constituting half of the country’s population.

Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and could prove fatal in up to 15 percent of untreated cases.

The United Nations warned last month that 80 percent of Yemenis needed some form of humanitarian assistance, adding that more than two million people, including 370,000 children, were suffering from malnutrition across the war-torn country.

The international body stressed that if the warring parties in Yemen did not reach a peace deal soon, the country could collapse with alarming consequences for the entire region.

Saudi jets hit a funeral in the south of the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, on October 8, 2016. (Provided by Yemeni media)

One of the poorest countries in the Arab world, Yemen slid deeper into chaos when Riyadh launched its military aggression in March 2015.

International alarm has been growing over airstrikes that have hit civilian targets, including a community hall in the capital of Sana’a where over 140 people were killed last month while attending a funeral.

The Saudi war was launched in an attempt to reinstate resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

On Monday, Yemen’s al-Masirah news website cited a report released by a Yemeni non-governmental monitoring group as saying that the civilian death toll from the Saudi war had now risen to 11,403 people.

The Legal Center for Rights and Development reported that 600 days of Saudi aggression had also left 19,343 people wounded.

According to the report, most of the casualties were women and children.

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