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Cholera cases in Yemen could reach 850,000 by year’s end

A six-year-old boy suffering from cholera in war-torn Yemen.
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NORMAN, Okla.- On Wednesday, The Red Cross warned that cholera cases in Yemen could reach 850,000 this year, in its current projection of a worst-case scenario for the country. 

“It is not under control, it is not contained”, said Robert Mardini, director of the Near and Middle East division of the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

An average of 4.700 cases are reported each day in Yemen, and over 2,000 have already died from the easily preventable and treatable disease, according to the World Health Organization.  The number of cases this year have reached 600,000.

The worst cholera outbreak in recorded history, and the worst health crisis for a preventable disease in modern times, the outbreak is man-made.  Specifically, it stems from the targeting of civilian infrastructure by Saudi Arabia, along with a punishing blockade.  Water treatment plants, the sewage system, hospitals, schools, residential areas have all been targeted by Saudi airstrikes for the past two years.  As a result, millions of Yemen’s civilians have no access to clean water, and hygiene is non-existent, creating the perfect environment for the normally preventable disease to spread out of control.

The Saudi blockade of Yemen’s main ports has prevented food, medicine, and aid of any type of entering the country.  Yemen imports 90 percent of its food, so the predictable result has been mass famine.  Two million Yemeni children are suffering from acute malnutrition due to the blockade, with around 25 million facing the possibility that they may starve to death. 

The Yemen crisis has been classified as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, but Yemen was already considered the poorest country in the Middle East before the lop-sided war.  The civilian death toll has surpassed 5,000, according a UN report last week.  Those providing assistance in the war-ravaged country are working unpaid, having not been paid in over a year.  The National Blood Bank will close soon due to lack of funds, from which a new horror will emerge.

The international community has endlessly called for an end to the blockade, with most referring to it as needless punishment of Yemen’s civilians rather than serving any strategic purpose.  The UN has recently called for a probe into Saudi war crimes, a measure that both Saudi Arabia and the United States hope won’t happen.

The United States’ role in what can only be considered a deliberate, slow motion genocide of the children, elderly, and the poorest citizens of the poorest country in the Middle East has been the provision of almost all of the weapons used by the Saudi military.  The United States has been widely recognized as the world’s foremost arms dealer in the world, and Saudi Arabia has been it’s number one client. 

The strafing of the poor country does not appear to be lessening at all, and the blockade will probably remain in effect until the provider of Saudi’s weapons puts a stop to it.  By then, though, millions of Yemen’s civilians will have perished in what can only be described as a genocide occurring in broad daylight.

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Shane Smith

Shane Smith is an accountant and freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in economics from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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