Ireland responding to cholera outbreak in Yemen

by Gazette Reporter
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Lifesaving clean water and other essential aid have been provided to people on the frontline of a major cholera outbreak in conflict-torn Yemen, thanks to support from Ireland.

The emergency response from the Irish humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide with funding from the government’s development agency Irish Aid follows a deadly outbreak of cholera, which has infected over 40,000 people since last October. There have also been 134 cholera and diarrhoea related deaths over the last eight months.

Concern provided significant upgrades at water wells and installed 34 toilets to improve sanitation conditions in displacement camps.  

They distributed hundreds of cholera prevention “hygiene kits” to families, which include items like soap, washing powder and water purification tablets.

They also sent much needed support to households where there are children very vulnerable to cholera infection and who are severely malnourished in displacement camps where there is also a serious hunger crisis.

One of the wells Concern upgraded in the Al-Salam camp for displaced people in Aden in the south of the country was hand dug and was not able to supply water to the camp.

The Al-Salam well now has a solar-powered pump and supplies clean water to the local community where many people were previously getting water-borne illnesses.

One of the displaced people living in the camp told Concern that the charity’s relief effort is “timely as cholera is also converging and we don’t want our children getting sick and dying from cholera.”

The aid organisation also set up and trained a team of 45 “community health volunteers” across six health facilities in the Tuban and Al-Milah districts in Lahj in southern Yemen. These volunteers deliver cholera related messages, nutrition screening and refer people to the nearest health facilities for treatment.

“The poor living conditions combined with limited access to safe water and sanitation services have been leading to a high prevalence of waterborne diseases,” said Concern’s Yemen Country Director Victor Moses.

“Yemen remains one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with an estimated 18.2 million people (55 per cent of the population) in need of assistance.

“An estimated 4.5 million people are currently displaced, most of whom have been displaced multiple times over a number of years.

“The support we have been able to provide has already improved many lives.”

There have been over 4,000 cholera related deaths recorded from a previous outbreak in Yemen between 2016 and 2021.

Concern began operations in Yemen in December 2023.

It is currently one of the hungriest countries in the world. It was ranked 123rd out of 125 countries assessed in the 2023 Global Hunger Index.

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