Yemen – Diphtheria Outbreak, Conflict (DG ECHO, UN, ICRC, Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 1 December 2017)

  • Diphtheria is making an alarming comeback in Yemen, with 189 clinically-diagnosed cases and 20 deaths reported in 13 governorates in the last three months, as of 27 November. Ibb governorate is the most affected with an estimated 72% of reported cases. A vaccination campaign targeting 300 000 children started and further vaccination rounds are scheduled to target three million people in December. Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease which can cause devastating epidemics, mainly affecting children. Its resurgence is a direct symptom of the collapsed health system.

  • The Saudi-led coalition blockade on ports (air, sea and land) was partially lifted on 25 November. Humanitarian flights to Sana'a resumed after 20 days of suspension and two boats carrying humanitarian supplies were allowed to berth in Saleef and Hodeidah ports. Commercial supplies continue to be blocked into Ansar Allah/Houthi-controlled areas.

  • The recent Famine Early Warning System Network alert (20 November) warns of a likely famine (IPC Phase 5) in the next three-four months if ports are only partially opened and unable to handle large-scale imports at speed. Yemen is highly dependent on food imports (up to 90%) and humanitarian food imports only cover 20% of the country's food import needs.

  • The conflict is escalating and tensions are rising both in Sana'a and Aden. On 30 November, a Houthi missile was reportedly fired towards South-West Saudi Arabia. In Sana'a, clashes continued throughout Thursday; 14 people were reportedly killed on 29 November. For the first time in 2017, a suicide attack occurred in Sana'a (30 November). In Aden, at least 4 people were killed after a car bomb exploded nearby government headquarters (29 November).