Arab League urges world to save Yemen from cholera outbreak

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Cairo, July 20 (IANS) The Arab League (AL) warned on Thursday against the growing cholera outbreak in war-ravaged Yemen, urging the international community to respond to the pleas of UN organisations to control the epidemic.

In a statement on Thursday, AL Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit called on the world’s states and civil society organisations to urgently respond to the calls of the World Health Organisation and the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) to provide $22 million, out of which 16 million were immediately required, to contain the crisis, Xinhua reported.

“It is necessary to work closely to contain the cholera epidemic and prevent its outbreak in more Yemeni provinces and cities to avoid a possible humanitarian crisis whose consequences may last for years to come,” said the AL chief in the statement.

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As many as 362,545 suspected cholera cases and 1,817 related deaths have been reported in 91.3 per cent of Yemeni governorates and 88 percent of its districts, said a WHO report on July 19.

Yemen has been suffering a civil war for about two and a half years, since Houthi rebels supported by forces of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh ousted the UN-backed transitional government led by fleeing President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi and occupied the capital Sanaa in September 2014.

From March 2015 to March 2017, the civil war, ground battles and airstrikes killed over 10,000 Yemenis, half of whom are civilians, injured about 40,000 and displaced over two million, according to humanitarian agencies.

The AL chief blames the Houthis for Yemen’s “catastrophic situation” due to their establishment of their own government and not responding to political settlement initiatives and UN peacemaking efforts.

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