Yemen cholera outbreak kills 25 people in a week: WHO

SANAA (Reuters) - A cholera outbreak in Yemen killed 25 people this week, the World Health Organization said, as two years of war continues to wreak havoc on the impoverished country's health and sanitation system.

The deaths from the diarrheal disease which is carried in food and water tainted by human feces are among 1,360 cases that the United Nations agency reported since April 27.

Some severe cases can kill within hours unless treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

23 PHOTOS
Deadly cholera outbreak in Yemen
See Gallery
Deadly cholera outbreak in Yemen

A Yemeni child lies on a mattress in hospital hallway as patients suspected of being infected with cholera receive treatment in Sanaa on May 6, 2017. At least 570 suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in war-torn Yemen in the past three weeks, sparking fears of a potential epidemic, Doctors Without Borders said. Healthcare has dramatically deteriorated in Yemen as conflict between Iran-backed rebels and the Saudi-supported government continues to escalate, leaving hospitals destroyed and millions struggling to find access to food and clean water.

(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A girl infected with cholera lies on the ground at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A girl pushes a wheel cart with water jerrycans past a pile of rubbish bags on a street during a strike by garbage collectors demanding delayed salaries in Sanaa, Yemen May 8, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A cholera-infected man reacts as he lies on a hospital bed in Sanaa, Yemen May 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Yemenis suspected of being infected with cholera receive treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 6, 2017. At least 570 suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in war-torn Yemen in the past three weeks, sparking fears of a potential epidemic, Doctors Without Borders said. Healthcare has dramatically deteriorated in Yemen as conflict between Iran-backed rebels and the Saudi-supported government continues to escalate, leaving hospitals destroyed and millions struggling to find access to food and clean water. 

(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Yemeni child suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 6, 2017. At least 570 suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in war-torn Yemen in the past three weeks, sparking fears of a potential epidemic, Doctors Without Borders said. Healthcare has dramatically deteriorated in Yemen as conflict between Iran-backed rebels and the Saudi-supported government continues to escalate, leaving hospitals destroyed and millions struggling to find access to food and clean water. 

(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A cholera-infected girl lies on a bed at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Young Yemenis suspected of being infected with cholera receive treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 6, 2017. At least 570 suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in war-torn Yemen in the past three weeks, sparking fears of a potential epidemic, Doctors Without Borders said. Healthcare has dramatically deteriorated in Yemen as conflict between Iran-backed rebels and the Saudi-supported government continues to escalate, leaving hospitals destroyed and millions struggling to find access to food and clean water. 

(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Rubbish bags pile up on a street during a strike by garbage collectors demanding delayed salaries in Sanaa, Yemen May 8, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Relatives sit next to a sick man waiting to be admitted to a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A girl infected with cholera sits on a chair at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A Yemeni woman sits with a child as patients suspected of being infected with cholera receive treatment at a hospital in Sanaa on May 6, 2017. At least 570 suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in war-torn Yemen in the past three weeks, sparking fears of a potential epidemic, Doctors Without Borders said. Healthcare has dramatically deteriorated in Yemen as conflict between Iran-backed rebels and the Saudi-supported government continues to escalate, leaving hospitals destroyed and millions struggling to find access to food and clean water. 

(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A man sits as he waits for a cholera-infected relative at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Women help a young relative infected with cholera at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A girl infected with cholera lies on the ground at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A boy infected with cholera lies on the ground at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A boy and his mother, both infected with cholera, lie on a bed at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Cholera-infected children lie on the ground at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A woman sits next to her cholera-infected daughter at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Women accompany cholera-infected children at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A woman looks from behind bars of a hospital ward allocated for cholera-infected patients in Sanaa, Yemen May 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

A nurse tends to a cholera-infected patient at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen May 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"(This) is extremely alarming. We are facing a reactivation of the cholera epidemic," Nevio Zagaria, the WHO's representative in Yemen, told Reuters.

"The cause is that there is two years of war in Yemen. There is a huge impact on the infrastructure, the electricity power is on and off, the water pumping stations are not functioning regularly and this has an impact on the quality of water."

A previous outbreak subsided last winter, Zagaria said, and the country has experienced a total of around 27,000 cases including 130 deaths during the conflict.

Yemen's conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthi movement and elements of the military against the Saudi-led military coalition backing the internationally recognized government.

Largely stalemated in nationwide battlefronts, the war has plunged millions into poverty, displaced millions of others and killed more than 10,000 people.

The U.N. said a child aged under five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes in Yemen.

A dispute over control of the central bank has also left most public sector salaries in Sanaa and other Houthi-run northern lands unpaid since October.

Street cleaners have gone on strike for their wages, leaving mountains of garbage cluttering main boulevards.

Meanwhile, hospitals are strained by low supplies and cash-strapped staff who in some cases can barely afford transportation to work.

Women and young children, crumpled in pain from the diarrhea, sat on mattress laid in the hallway of a crowded Sanaa hospital.

"I've been lying here since 7:30 in the morning and watching death and suffering. No one came to give me any treatment, not even a needle," lamented patient Ali al-Hamzy.

(Reporting By Reuters TV; Writing by Noah Browning and Tarek Fahmy, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.