- Thousands of people may be unknowingly dying from cholera in Yemen because they’re too afraid to seek medical help due to coronavirus.
- There’s been a 50% decrease in the number of people seeking treatment for cholera in the past 3 months, The Guardian reported.
- Aid agencies are worried about what that means in the upcoming weeks when both COVID-19 and cholera cases are expected to rise.
- Aid agencies say they need significantly more funding to address humanitarian needs to prevent a famine.
- UNICEF estimated that 2.4 million children could starve by the end of this year.
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Aid agencies in Yemen are concerned that thousands of people could be dying from cholera because they’re too scared to get medical help.
In the past three months, there’s been a 50% decrease in the number of people seeking treatment for cholera, The Guardian reported.
Oxfam reported that they’re seeing a drop in cholera cases. Despite, the reported drop, the country stills saw 110,000 cases of Cholera between January and April. It’s the worst outbreak in modern history.
The NGO is worried because both coronavirus and cholera are expected to rise in cases in the next few weeks.
On top of the medical crisis. The United Nations Children’s Fund estimated 2.4 million children could starve by the end of this year.
“We cannot overstate the scale of this emergency as children, in what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, battle for survival as COVID-19 takes hold,” Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF Representative to Yemen, said. “If we do not receive urgent funding, children will be pushed to the brink of starvation and many will die. The international community will be sending a message that the lives of children in a nation devastated by conflict, disease, and economic collapse, simply do not matter.”
The coronavirus has made the country’s starvation crisis worse since it forced businesses to close and also disrupted supply chains, The Independent reported.
“This year will be the worst in terms of the total population anticipated to be in need of food aid,” Vanessa Roy, from Famine Early Warning Systems Network, told The Independent.
As of Thursday, 1,726 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Yemen, with 487 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University. However, The Guardian reported that the low numbers are a result of limited testing.
“Yemenis desperately need an end to the fighting which has destroyed health facilities and left communities more vulnerable to the virus,” Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Yemen country director, told the Guardian. “Rather than show that Yemen has cholera and COVID under control, the low official numbers demonstrate the exact opposite. A lack of working health facilities and people too scared to get treatment mean that the numbers suffering from these diseases are being vastly under-recorded.”
Additionally, aid groups are running low on funding.
“Aid organisations have so far received about 18% of what we need for this year’s humanitarian response plan. What had in recent years been one of the better-funded humanitarian operations around the world is now one of the most underfunded,” Mark Lowcock, the UN’s humanitarian chief told the UN security council this week.
Without funding, more of the country’s population will lack basic resources such as water.
Lockwood said that without a ceasefire the situation would only get worse.
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