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UN: 1,310 dead in Yemen cholera epidemic

UN: 1,310 dead in Yemen cholera epidemic

A cholera epidemic has killed some 1,310 people in war-torn Yemen since late April, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, warning that as many as 300,000 could get infected by the end of August.

More than 200,000 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded in the country,¬†WHO’s Yemen office said in a statement on Saturday.

A UN report has said children account for half of the registered cases to date, and about a quarter of the recorded fatalities.

Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection spread through contaminated food or water. It can be fatal within hours if left untreated.

Although the disease is easily treatable, doing so in conflict-torn Yemen has proved particularly difficult.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s embattled government.

Two years of conflict have killed more than 10,000 people, wounded 45,000 others, and displaced more than 11 percent of the country’s 26 million people.

The United Nations has put the blame on all the warring sides and their international backers for the spread of cholera, which it calls a man-made humanitarian catastrophe.

“This is because of conflict, it’s man-made, it’s very severe, the numbers are absolutely staggering. It’s getting worse,” Stephen O’Brien, a senior UN humanitarian affairs official, said.

“The cholera element in addition to all the lack of food, the lack of medical supplies is, of course, primarily, one has to put that at the door of all parties to the conflict.”

On Friday, the humanitarian group Oxfam called for a ceasefire because of the outbreak, but the war shows no sign of letting up. Al Jazeera