United Nations leaders visit Yemen to issue plea for help in humanitarian crisis

United Nations leaders visit Yemen to issue plea for help in humanitarian crisis

United Nations leaders visit Yemen to issue plea for help in humanitarian crisis

Almost 80% of Yemeni children need immediate humanitarian assistance amid the collapse of the country's health system in the face of the two-year-long civil war, three United Nations agencies have said.

The trio describe the more than 1,000 diarrhea treatment and oral rehydration centers, and the delivery of food supplements, IV fluids and other medical supplies, along with "rebuilding of critical infrastructure - the rehabilitation of hospitals, district health centers and the water and sanitation networks", being provided by global relief partners.

Executive Director David Beasley said cholera and other diseases would continue to spread if they could not get food and other help to more people.

In Yemen, the world's worst cholera outbreak is unfolding amid the world's largest humanitarian crisis, crippling health, water and sanitation facilities in the country, and creating ideal conditions for diseases to spread, according to the heads of three United Nations agencies.

WHO data puts the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance at 18.8 million and 14.8 million in need of health services - 60 percent of the population do not know where their next meal will come from, the organization estimates.

Last week, the charity, Oxfam, said there had been more than 360,000 suspected cases of cholera in the country in the three months since the outbreak started. More than 60 percent of the population remains uncertain of their next meal as starvation looms. "A vicious combination", the statement added.

"At one hospital, we visited children who can barely gather the strength to breathe", the three directors said in their statement.

In a joint statement they said that, "thousands are falling sick every day. For many people, weakened by war and hunger, cholera is the knockout blow".

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen's embattled government.

Worldwide donors pledged around £1.5 billion in aid earlier this year but only a third of it has been disbursed, the United Nations said earlier this month.

The ongoing conflict in Yemen - which has left 18.8 million of Yemen's 28 million people needing humanitarian assistance and seven million on the brink of starvation - was singled out by Pope Francis during his speech to Vatican diplomats at the beginning of the year.

Amid the lack of adequate worldwide support, community leaders have stepped up to the task-more than 16,000 volunteers visit families from door-to-door to raise awareness about cholera, and assist them with information to protect themselves. But clean water is in short supply.

In severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

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