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Yemen: Swift injection of funds is needed after capital hit by surge of new cholera cases

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A growing cholera crisis in Yemen that has already killed more than 120 people with 11,000 suspected cases could deteriorate rapidly unless donor governments immediately send aid they pledged last month to help the struggling country, Oxfam warned today. 

The warning comes after authorities in Yemen's capital Sana'a declared on Sunday that the capital was in a state of health emergency due to the alarming increase of cholera cases. 

Sajjad Mohamed Sajid, Oxfam's Country Director in Yemen, said: "Funds are needed immediately to stop the spread of cholera. Lives hang in the balance. Those countries that a few weeks ago generously pledged money to help the embattled people of Yemen need to act now. 

"This surge of cholera cases is yet another challenge for the Yemeni population who are already at breaking point, with millions facing famine and over two years of a brutal war. Only a fully funded and prompt humanitarian response will allow aid agencies to prevent cholera from killing more people." 

Since April 27, there have been over 11,000 suspected cases of cholera or acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) across the country, with at least 124 related deaths as of May 15, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). There are over 4,000 suspected cases and 14 people who died in Sana'a alone. 

Cholera first broke out in Yemen in October 2016 with a crippled health system and only 45 percent of health facilities functioning because of the war. Before April's upsurge, there had already been over 27,000 suspected cases of cholera, including 116 deaths. 

According to WHO, 7.6 million people are risk of contracting the disease, especially those among displaced and starving population.

ENDS 

Notes to editors: 
Link to Oxfam's Yemen appeal: https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen 

Oxfam is delivering programmes on water, sanitation and hygiene in four governorates since July 2015, which help prevent the spread of cholera. The delivery of clean water, the cleaning and chlorination of water sources along with the building of latrines and the organization of hygiene awareness sessions have benefitted 920,000 people, including 380,000 children. 

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