ICRC president arrives in Yemen amid 'unprecedented' cholera outbreak

TEHRAN, Jul. 23 (MNA) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived in Yemen on Sunday as the country’s unprecedented cholera outbreak ravages with one in every 45 Yemenis being expected to be infected with a disease by year-end.

Peter Maurer, the president of ICRC arrived in Yemen on Sunday as part of international efforts to prevent the spread of the "unprecedented" cholera outbreak in this war-torn country, the ICRC press service said.

"The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived in Yemen today as the country’s unprecedented cholera outbreak ravages an alarming – and growing — percentage of the population. ICRC experts expect the current number of suspected cholera cases to at least double by the end of 2017 to over 600,000 — or one in every 45 Yemenis," the press release said.

According to the ICRC, the rapid spread of cholera has been caused by the countrywide destruction of sewage networks and water treatment stations with the health system unable to help those in need as less than 45 percent of Yemen's medical facilities are operational. The current humanitarian situation may lead to the spread of other diseases, including malaria or dengue.

"The great tragedy is that this cholera outbreak is a preventable, man-made humanitarian catastrophe. It is a direct consequence of a conflict that has devastated civilian infrastructure and brought the whole health system to its knees. I find this needless suffering absolutely infuriating. The world is sleep-walking into yet more tragedy… Further deaths can be prevented, but warring parties must ease restrictions and allow the import of medicines, food and essential supplies," Maurer said.

During the five-day trip, Maurer will visit Aden, Taiz and capital Sanaa, where he will discuss the humanitarian situation with communities and officials on all sides of the conflict and urge all warring parties to provide unconditional and immediate access to people in need.

The cholera outbreak in Yemen was announced by the country's health authorities on October 6, 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 7.6 million Yemenis live in areas with a high risk of cholera transmission.

SPUTNIK/MNA

News Code 126685

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