Cholera crisis intensifies in Yemen


The cholera epidemic in Yemen is intensifying with around 300,000 people now thought to be infected.

According to the UN more than 1,700 associated deaths have been reported, with 7,000 new cases each day.

Over two years of conflict have left Yemen's health, water and sanitation systems in crisis.

What is cholera?
Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease of the small intestine. It’s typically contracted from infected water supplies and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be fatal within hours if left untreated.

On 24 June the World Health Organisation said Yemen was facing the ‘worst cholera outbreak in the world’, with more than 200,000 suspected cases. Now, just two weeks later, another 100,000 people have been infected.

How is Tearfund helping?
Tearfund is working with partners to prevent the disease from spreading even further. Prevention kits are being distributed, including items such as water containers, chlorine tablets and soap. In addition, good hygiene practices such as hand-washing are being promoted.
Tearfund will continue to work with partners and other agencies to support people through this crisis.

In December 2016, Tearfund supporters raised £1.5 million for the Yemen Crisis Appeal (alongside the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal).

Guy Calvert-Lee, Deputy Head of Tearfund’s Eurasia programme, says: ‘Cholera should not be a problem in this day and age. It is not particularly difficult to prevent. People just need clean drinking water and basic hygiene and sanitation. It is a measure of how broken Yemen has become that cholera has reached the epidemic levels that it has. But by acting quickly we can save lives and reduce further transmissions’. 

Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.