Middle EastYemen

50 Yemenis have died from latest outbreak of H1N1: Health ministry

Fifty Yemenis have died from the latest outbreak of the H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, in the war-ravaged country and 1,600 others are suspected to have contracted the disease, says the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population.

The ministry confirmed the figure in a statement issued on Sunday.

Hospitals in the capital Sana’a and elsewhere in Yemen have issued an alert in the face of soaring swine flu cases. 

The statement added that the Republican Hospital – the largest hospital in Sana’a – can accommodate up to four beds with intensive care equipment and isolation systems, while the hospital receives more than 50 cases every month.

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The Yemeni ministry is working in cooperation with international organizations to contain the epidemic despite the lack of medical supplies as a result of an ongoing Saudi-led campaign.

Last October, the ministry announced that Yemen was on the brink of a major health catastrophe amid the seizure of vessels carrying diesel fuel and petroleum by the Saudi-led alliance, and their inability to reach and offload their consignments at Hudaydah port despite possessing required papers.

The UN children’s fund, UNICEF, has warned that some 8.6 million Yemeni children lack access to drinking water, sounding alarm about the spread of cholera in the country.

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Youssef al-Hadri, spokesman of the Yemeni Health Ministry, said epidemics, such as diphtheria, cholera, dengue fever and malaria, have swept Yemen in an unprecedented manner, making it difficult to confront them at once.

He added that the Yemeni health sector is facing a new challenge following the swine flu outbreak in the country, and would not be able to handle it amid the failure of international organizations to provide necessary medicines and medical supplies.

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Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.

The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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