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Cholera, hunger, conflict push Yemen to edge of a cliff, says UN official

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Staff Writer | August 2, 2017
A senior UN official said that the war-torn Yemen, already reeling from malnutrition and dwindling health care, is plummeting into further distress amid a deadly cholera outbreak and looming famine.
UNDP Yemen
Africa   400,000 cases of cholera
"Historically, Yemen has been one of the poorest Arab nations - if not the poorest - with (poverty) and corruption, poor governance and poor infrastructure.

"The war has simply made it much worse," said Auke Lootsma, UN Development Program (UNDP) Country Director, while briefing journalists in New York via teleconference from the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

He compared the situation in the country to a bus "racing towards the edge of a cliff."

Instead of hitting the brakes and turning around, "the one controlling the direction of the bus keeps going and pushes the accelerator, all but certain to crash," Lootsma warned.

He stressed that the Yemeni people are enduring incredible hardship, with 70 percent of the population - some 20 million people - in need of humanitarian assistance.

"Additionally, some 400,000 cases of cholera recorded in the past few months have resulted in 1,900 deaths.

Due to the scope of the crisis combined with a lack of funding and access, humanitarians "are asked to cover gaps that are well beyond" their mandates and capacities, he said.

The country is on the brink of famine, with 60 percent of the population not knowing where its next meal is coming from, according to the UN official.

"The current food security crisis is a man-made disaster not only resulting from decades of poverty and under-investment, but also as a war tactic through economic strangulation," he noted.


 

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