A country ‘on its knees’: Cholera takes hold in war-weary Yemen
Video     Photos     Pakistan     World     Islam     Health     Crime     Islamic News     Business     Society     India     Travel     Middle East     Sport     sci/tech      Contact      RSS
Search

Hindu nationalism risks pushing India into war with China

Trump ends CIA arms support for anti-Assad Syria rebels: Who believes?

How Raheel Sharif’s appointment will push Pakistan into another war?

Shutting Iranian cultural mission: Did Saudia threatened Kuwait by Qatar like consequences?

Houthi forces kill 3 soldiers inside Saudi Arabia

US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria kills 12 civilians per day

Plan of the United Arab Emirates to divide Yemen

JIT law firm is ‘one man show’

Cost benefit analysis: Why India cannot wage a war with China?

Stranded at border: Why Pakistan always neglected Shia pilgrims?

Hanging fate: What is better choice for PM, NAB or Court’s verdict?

Ayatollah Sistani: silent force behind ISIS defeat

NA-260 polls: How terrorists became blatant stakeholders in the constituency?

Mirzakhani, Iranian mathematician, was terrorized biologically in US; Russian intelligence services reveal

US speeds up military aid to PKK/PYD

US military, intelligence bodies harbor terrorists in region: Iranian lawmakers

Russia concerned of ISIS members being transported by unidentified helicopters to Afghanistan

ISIS, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda Get Their Money and Ideology From America’s Allies

SHAFAQNA | 8 British Muslims kick off Hajj journey on bikes

Spanish football federation chief arrested in fraud probe

SUCH TV | Russian airstrike obliterates Daesh ammo truck in southern Raqqa

China ‘Ready’ for Long-Term War With India

Intelligence Reports Suggest IS Leader Al-Baghdadi is Still Alive

Hazara's again: Four Hazaras shot dead near Mastung as gunmen open fire on vehicle

Confession of Saudia Iqama: Is Nawaz Sharif has been screwed?

Leaked documents reveal Saudia and Emirati crown princes support for Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen

An inside informer to JIT: Who betrayed Sharif family?

Arrival of Qatar Foreign Minister: Is there give and take on Panama case?

Why West created ISIS?

Ruthless Saudi crackdown continues in Shiite regions with US green light

MEHR NEWS | Iran may opt to drop N-deal in face of major violation by US

ALMANAR | Saudi Arabia’s Rule: Grandson’s Era, Hatred Era

IQNA | Egyptian Qari Says Mostly Inspired by Minshawi

PRESS TV | US adding new sanctions against Iran over missile program

LUBP | Mr Sharif please don’t resign

Party rifts: Why is Ch Nisar angry over PM?

Pakistan’s journey to terrorism: From Madrassahs to high grade universities

Using the analogy of Gullen for Imran Khan: Is PML-N portraying PM as Erdogan?

End of Panamagate: All stage set to disqualify PM

Israel’s diplomatic expansion in the face of Arab retraction

Iran’s Zarif hopes Yemen war does not lead to Iran, Saudi conflict

Iran warns US of 'big risk' if it blacklists IRGC

At daggers drawn: Chinese cross border rocket attack kills 158 Indian soldiers

Takfiris fight each other as Assad ouster fades away

Trump Puts US Centcome in Al-Udeid on Auction to Blackmail S. Arabia, UAE

Saudi Arabia’s march towards civil war

What is the the Int'l Plot against Syria Using Refugee Issue?

Prof. Stephen Hawking Says Alien Life is Real, Warns Humans Not to Make Contact

A wind of change: Pakistan towards a corruption free state

Where the law prevails: Iranian president’s brother arrested on financial crime charges

US divorce to Pakistan: Would Russia take the revenge?

JIT Report: Top 10 legal minds on what next

Explosion hits Peshawar's Hayatabad, 2 FC men martyred several injured

Washington Post: US intelligence confirms UAE planned Qatar fake news hack

Saudi Arabia recognized death of 155 of its soldiers and commanders in Yemen

Ex-Saudi Crown Prince's Absence in Funeral Prayer for Uncle Proves Rumors about House Arrest

A message by Iran : Our forces can combat US troops 

Saudi breeds ‘fodder for terrorism’, says former British ambassador

Qatari camels die of thirst after farmers kicked out by Saudi Arabia as diplomatic rift deepens

Should Pakistan allow Jhadav’s mother to Pakistan?

CIA Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘We Blew Up WTC7 On 9/11’

Dump the Trump: Anti-Trump protests held across US demanding impeachement

Trying to protect Saudi Arabia,UK refuses to publish report on ‘funding of extremism’

Is Ch.Nisar happy over PM’s indictment?

A secrete story of success: How Pakistan helped Iraq in defeating ISIS?

ABNA | Three Shia martyred in attack by Saudi forces in Qatif / PHOTOS

TASNIM | Saudi Hypocrisy Targeting Qatar Nothing but Insanity: US Analyst

SHABESTAN | Ten days of blessings is a golden chance to explain Islamic joy based on Rizvi culture

IQNA | US Supreme Court Asked to Overturn Muslim Ban Ruling

PRESS TV | Iran blasts Israel’s closure of al-Aqsa Mosque

Al-Qaeda-Linked Filmmaker's Work on CNN Syria Documentary Unmentioned by Network

Tillerson's failed attempt: Did Saudia demand a regime change in Qatar?

Cholera outbreak in Yemen poses risk to Hajj pilgrims: WHO

A crooked PM: Another corruption scandal embroils Netanyahu

Trump’s son-in-law tried to get $500mn loan from Qatar

Hard days ahead: Can Pakistan survive without US aid?

Accountability for all : Are the Judges and General next after politicians?

Trump declares ‘Zionist Holy war’ on Iran

A tainted PM: Hanging sword of disqualification on Sharif’s family

Seizure of assets: Is Countdown beginning for Imran Khan?

Why Iran’s supreme leader clubbed Kashmir with Yemen, and not with Palestine

IQNA | Riyadh Regime Seeking to Silence Shia Dissent with Execution

MEHR NEWS | Saudis fail to issue anti-Iran statement at OIC

SUCH TV | Reko Diq case: Pakistan rejects $11.5b damages claim

Secrete eyes: 25,000 Chinese Spies Embedded in U.S.

Why the International community takes no responsibility toward Yemen?!!

British Jews urge London Mayor to get Hizbullah banned

Shrugging off resignation: Is Zardari’s show once again on to save Nawaz Sharif?

PM trapped: What is that evidence that alone can send Nawaz Sharif packing?

Shafaqna Special: Indo-Israel secrete venture to fund for separate Balochistan?

Pentagon Can Keep Secret Chemical Weapons Tests on US Troops

Bin Salman’s difficult journey to Saudi throne

Erdogan will be arrested in Sweden over genocide and crimes against humanity

150 Saudi intelligence officers joined Daesh in Mosul battle: Report

Amnesty: Saudi Arabia silence Shia dissent with execution

Did Saudia use biological weapons that unleashed cholera in Yemen?

Saudia's economic death: 670,000 expats to leave Saudi Arabia in 3 years

US Forces Could Have Killed Kim Jong-un on July 4 But Didn’t Take the Shot

UK Profiting From Yemeni Civilians Suffering: HRW

The New PM: Is Shahbaz Sharif happy over big brother’s indictment?

2017-05-18 11:57:23

A country ‘on its knees’: Cholera takes hold in war-weary Yemen

is-57SHAFAQNA – Hilal al-Asri brought his wife to a hospital in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, nearly two weeks ago, expecting her cholera would be cleared up quickly and they’d be on their way.

Today, three of his five children share a bed next to hers, all of them hooked up to fluid drips in a makeshift ward hastily assembled to deal with an outbreak that has killed 206 and suspected to have infected more than 17,200 since 27 April, according to the Ministry of Health’s latest count.

A nurse sits in a narrow corridor taking blood samples from new arrivals, all of them women and children in what is, in more ordinary times, a maternity hospital. Some patients lie on the floor. Children scream in pain, many of them shockingly thin.

It’s “a disaster”, 35-year old al-Asri says, watching Yemen’s epidemic take hold of his family and home city at a speed that is deeply worrisome – Shinjiro Murata, head of mission for Médecins Sans Frontières, which alone has treated 1,670 patients, told IRIN she is “very concerned that the disease will continue to spread and become out of control”.

Those controlling the capital – an uneasy alliance of Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh – have this week declared a “state of emergency” in the city, which alone has 4,000 cases of cholera.

Cholera should be an easy disease to treat and control – it takes rehydration, sometimes antibiotics, and containment. But after two years of war, the country and its capital are worn down, infrastructure is destroyed, and the outbreak is vividly and alarmingly exposing the dysfunction, decay, and desperation that have long been just beneath the surface.

How did we get here?

A Saudi Arabia-led regional coalition began airstrikes in a bid to restore President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power in March 2015 – some 10,000 civilians fatalities have been counted, although the actual toll is thought to be far higher.

Sana’a, controlled by the Resistance Movement since September 2014, has borne the brunt of the sustained aerial bombardment. But aside from the deaths, the bombs have left an indelible mark on the city in terms of infrastructure destroyed, hospitals no longer operational.

Some examples of the city’s degradation – the sort that have allowed cholera to take hold – are immediately evident. Garbage lies in piles on the streets, even in areas that are still relatively wealthy.

Other impacts of the war are less visible. The city has suffered less from the extreme hunger – nearing famine – that has gripped other parts of Yemen. People here are still extremely poor. Since Hadi moved the Central Bank to its nominal power base in the southern city of Aden eight months ago, most of the country’s 1.2 million public sector workers – including doctors, teachers, and soldiers – have gone unpaid. But in Sana’a, at least, there have still been ways for an enterprising populace to hustle some kind of existence. The cholera epidemic is threatening to change that.

Al-Asri is worried that he won’t be able to afford his family’s treatment at al-Sabeen Hospital. It’s a public facility and free, but patients must pay for medications not in stock. “It causes one so much anxiety,” he says.

Poor families are hosting displaced relatives (the war has driven an estimated two million Yemenis from their homes) and some are resorting to what aid agencies call “negative coping mechanisms”, of the kind that can foster cholera, in particular, according to UNICEF spokesman Mohammed al-Asaadi, “using water from untreated water sources”.

 

Dominik Stillhart, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told IRIN he had seen hospitals overflowing with potential patients, some facilities so overworked that patients were sitting with IV drips in courtyards, one man even taking his fluids in a car.

The cholera outbreak in Sana’a, and elsewhere is,” Stillhart said, “very clearly a sign of how the conflict has brought the country to its knees.”

“In a protracted conflict you have direct impact,” he said, referring to violent deaths and injuries: “these are the visible things that everybody focuses on.”

“But what we see less is the fact that because of the economic downturn, lack of credit line for traders, absence of payment for government workers… all of this is taking a very heavy toll. Every single Yemeni family is now affected by the conflict, and the [collapse] of the health system really epitomises this.”

For a country already fighting off famine, uncontrolled cholera could be the last straw.

Overstretched and under-resourced

“There is a big gap in the resources needed to respond to the crisis,” said UNICEF’s al-Asaadi, explaining that aid agencies are having to fill all the gaps as the Ministry of Health is virtually broke. UNICEF has helped al-Sabeen Hospital, for example, move patients out of hallways and into temporary wards.

He, and other humanitarians, cited “big delays in bringing in supplies to Yemen… caused by the long clearance process on all sorts of imported medical supplies.” The protracted process involves clearance from both the UN and, depending on the point of entry, the Saudi-led coalition. This can take several weeks, if not months.

Ali Haidar, an assistant doctor in the cholera ward where al-Asri’s family is being cared for, told IRIN the hospital was overstretched even before the outbreak and was now having to turn away patients who had developed kidney failure from severe untreated cholera. “Medical solutions [for IV etc.] are barely available,” he said. “And if we have them today, there won’t be any tomorrow.”

 

Some stopgaps are in place – aid agencies are handing out chlorine tablets quickly to stop the use of contaminated water – but this is a country woefully underprepared for a significant escalation in the cholera outbreak and badly struggling already.

In one unseen part of society – the country’s prisons – containment action needs to be taken quickly.

Stillhart mentioned Sana’a Central Prison, which he estimates holds 3,000 people in crowded conditions and where the ICC has counted six cholera cases already. This could be an ideal place for quick spread of the disease, he said, adding that the ICRC has already upped its work in detention centres like this to improve hygiene fast.

In a separate statement, Stillhart highlighted how thousands of families had no contact with relatives detained in connection with the conflict. “Enforced disappearances and allegations of ill-treatment and deteriorating conditions further add to the plight of detainees and to families’ anxiety,” he said. The potential of cholera festering in prisons is unlikely to ease their worries. Last year, the ICRC said it visited more than 11,000 detainees in Yemen and 250 Yemeni detainees in Saudi Arabia, but many still remain off-limits.

Rare in a conflict that has often been called forgotten, Stillhart pointed out that there has been a fair bit of media attention paid to the cholera epidemic. “That’s good news,” he said, explaining how the authorities were now facilitating the movement of intravenous fluids and rehydration salts – important in a country where the movement of aid workers has been extremely limited and in some places impossible.

Aid agencies may soon be stepping in to fill a gap that isn’t in their normal remit – garbage collection.

Worse ahead

The need to help Yemen prepare for the worst is made more urgent by the fact that the wet season, usually in July and August, is fast approaching.

“Without a rapid, coordinated, and decentralised response across the country, there is a risk of further spread, especially with ongoing heavy rains,” said MSF’s Murata.

But it’s not just the rain that threatens to get in the way of efforts to contain the cholera outbreak. Aid agencies have been warning for weeks that a predicted battle in the port city of Hodeida could be disastrous. Although many medications come through on UN flights, the vast majority of Yemen’s food and other supplies come in through Hodeida, where they already battle serious delays due to diminished capacity and sluggish screening.

“Fighting in Hodeida may seriously compromise the ability of humanitarian actors to bring in critical lifesaving supplies, including medical supplies used for fighting cholera,” said UNICEF’s al-Asaadi.

Stillart agreed: “It goes without saying that should the conflict intensify even further, especially along the Red Sea coast [where Hodeida is located], this is definitely going to make things worse, first and foremost for the people who are directly affected on the coast, but potentially also for imports of drugs … food staples.”

 

It’s a scenario no one wants to even imagine.

The battle could potentially, at least in the minds of the Saudi-led coalition, bring them ever closer to Sana’a. There, even in the midst of the epidemic, is evidence of both grim political humour and conspiracy theory as Donald Trump prepares to fly to Riyadh on Friday on the first stop of his first overseas trip. On a drainage wall, a piece of graffiti reads: “Cholera is Trump’s gift to al-Saud ahead of his visit”. But Trump brings other gifts too. His administration is set to complete a deal worth more than $100 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

 
Categories:   Other News ،
From other agencies (RSS Reader)

PET Exports to EU

- brecorder

Last wish comes true

- Tribune PK

Medical emergency

- Tribune PK

All stick, no carrot

- Tribune PK