(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Cholera has killed at least 209 people in Yemen in recent weeks as Saudi Arabia continues bombing the Arab nation.
"Alarming Increase: To date, over 17,200 suspected cases of cholera have been reported across Yemen, including 209 associated deaths," the United Nations children's Fund Yemen office said on Twitter Wednesday.
The epidemic has spread to 62 towns in 15 provinces, where about three million people live, and about 3,000 new cases with Cholera symptoms are reported each day, according to the spokesman.
The sharp increase came one day after UNICEF said 186 people had died from the disease.
On Sunday, the Yemeni authorities declared a state of emergency in the capital Sana'a and appealed for international help to contain the cholera outbreak.
Red Cross and the UN suggest that Saudi Arabia's over two-year aggression and an all-out blockade on Yemen are central causes behind the cholera outbreak.
Calling the situation in Yemen “catastrophic,” Dominik Stillhart, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Director of Operations, told RT on Tuesday that Sana’a, were “really struggling to cope,” with “heartbreaking” scenes of people having to share beds, amid a never-ceasing inflow of new patients.
Stillhart said that that 160 hospitals and other medical facilities have been destroyed, predominantly as the result of bombing by the Saudi-led, Western-backed coalition that have been bombing Yemen since March 2017, “seriously weakening the health system."
The ICRC second-in-command also blamed the Saudi-imposed aerial and naval blockade for leading to the famine and poverty that provided a breeding ground for the epidemic, which has resulted in a declaration of a state of emergency.
“There is a situation where people are not only affected by the direct consequences of conflict, but the economy has been seriously slowed down, because it is very costly to move goods across the country through the different frontlines. Then there is the aerial blockade, and it is difficult to move food into some of the seaports,” said Stillhart, who insisted that ICRC have “repeatedly called on the conflict participants” to allow full access for humanitarian supplies.
Stillhart estimated that over 17 million Yemenis – two-thirds of the population – require humanitarian assistance, and 10 million are in “acute need” of food aid.
Saudi Arabia launched a deadly aggression against its southern neighbor Yemen on 27 March 2015 in a bid to restore power to Yemen's resigned president who fled to Riyadh after Yemeni people's uprising in 2015.
Over 12,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians including women and children, have been killed during the Saudi-led aggression.