Geneva – A major effort to rein in the world’s biggest cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen is starting to pay off, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The weekly number of new infections has fallen by a third since late June, to currently 32,000, the UN agency said on Monday.
However, the fight against the water-borne illness is far from over, UNICEF warned, pointing to Yemen’s collapsing water, sanitation and health services.
Despite the ongoing conflict, locals have managed to improve sanitation systems to some degree, and to detect and treat new patients at an early stage of their illness.
“Local health workers and volunteers have worked nearly around the clock, with no protection,’’ UNICEF spokesperson Tamara Kummer told dpa from Amman.
In addition, more than 40,000 volunteers are currently visiting homes to spread information on how to disinfect water and other simple ways to prevent infections.
Since the cholera outbreak started in April, there have been 550,000 suspected cases, while more than 2,000 people have died from cholera.
The war in Yemen has also brought the country to the brink of famine.
UNICEF estimates that 385,000 children are severely malnourished.
Yemen has been locked in a violent struggle between Saudi-backed President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi and the Iran-allied Houthi rebels since 2014. (dpa/NAN)