'TAIZ, YEMEN — Beyond the devastation it has caused on the back of tens of thousands of airstrikes, a crippling blockade and the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure, the Saudi-led coalition supported by the United States has sparked an outbreak of disease and epidemics in Yemen in a manner not seen since World War II.
Yemeni activist Aseel Sweid told MintPress News how a young boy, Abdulkarim al-Ma’amari, “died of dengue fever after it spread with alarming speed in Taiz, threatening many innocents.” Sweid added that three of his own brothers had been infected with dengue. “There are a huge amount of people with the fever in the same hospital [as my brothers].”
Dr. Adam al-Jaidi, a doctor at the Jomhouri Governmental Hospital in Taiz, where Sweid’s brothers are being treated, said that the viral fever is sweeping the province and hundreds of cases are being seen in local hospitals, dozens of them with serious complications. Medical staff at Jomhouri confirmed that most of the patients they have received are infected with dengue fever.
A new wave of epidemic diseases, including dengue fever and malaria, have spiraled out of control in Yemen, particularly in the coastal areas that are traditional Houthi strongholds. In Taiz, 270 km south of the capital Sana’a, in Hodeida, as well as in rural mountainous areas, H1N1, known commonly as the swine flu, is also making a resurgence.
In addition to dengue and H1N1, Yemen has the fastest-growing cholera outbreak ever recorded; and rabies, diphtheria, and measles have now emerged in the country, killing countless people all while Yemen is in the midst of the world’s worst famine.
Moreover, years of Saudi attacks on water treatment facilities and other civilian infrastructure have left Yemenis to eek out an existence in an environment rife with deadly diseases that have emerged in a nation caught between a crippling Saudi blockade and aid organizations that are unwilling, or unable, to meet the growing needs of the war-torn country.
Yemen’s Sana’a-based Minister of Health said that one million patients have confirmed or suspected cases of malaria and that there are currently 36,000 confirmed cases of dengue fever with at least dozens of those cases proving fatal. However, those figures represent only the regions controlled by the Houthi-led government in Sana’a, figures for the whole country could be much higher.'
Read more: In WWII-Era Fashion, the Saudi-led Coalition is Weaponizing Disease in Yemen
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