Yemen: A Perfect Storm of Disasters
WRITTEN BY MIKE MEYERS
Yemen was the poorest country in the Arab world even before the civil war that has raged there since 2014. Now, Yemen’s children are suffering a one-two-three punch of war, famine and disease.
With the nation’s infrastructure reduced to rubble, most Yemenis struggle to find basic necessities and can only dream of medical care.
The United Nations estimates that 70 percent of the population (20 million people) faces famine. Already, 60 percent of the people don’t know where their next meal will come from. More than half of those in dire need are children. (Read an article on ReliefWeb about the disaster.)
Enter the World’s Worst Cholera Outbreak
Suffering from a bacterial disease of the small intestines, cholera patients can die from dehydration within hours if left untreated. Young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. The disease typically spreads when people drink contaminated water. The collapse of Yemen’s water and sanitation infrastructure created ideal conditions for the world’s worst ever cholera epidemic.
The World Health Organization reported over 300,000 infections in July, taking the lives of nearly 2,000 people. That’s one out of every 86 Yemenis with the disease. They’ve since updated the number to nearly 400,000. It could reach 600,000 by September.
Unlike a typical cholera outbreak, with 20 percent of the cases considered severe and requiring an aggressive medical response, 40 percent of Yemen’s cases reach severe status. But most Yemenis have no access to health care.
The Food for the Hungry Response
With our partner in Yemen, Food for the Hungry is providing life-saving food and drinking water to vulnerable women and children. We’re targeting the country’s hardest places, where conflict, food insecurity and susceptibility to cholera reach critical levels.