Aid Group Warns Of Coronavirus Spreading In South Yemen


Fri, 15-05-2020 10:57 PM, Aden

By: Associated Press

Aid organisation Save the Children on Friday warned that an unusual surge in fatalities in Yemen's southern city of Aden could be the result of the spread of the new coronavirus.

The organisation said many Aden hospitals and clinics have closed, while in those which remain open some staff refuse to work because of severe shortages of personal protective equipment.

Aden resident Ehab Khalid told the Associated Press that most of the city's hospitals are closed, and refused to treat his daughter for a blood condition.
The warning from Save the Children comes as the city and its surrounding areas have suffered recent torrential rains, leading to a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, which can cause respiratory symptoms and fever similar to the new virus.

Yemen has so far reported 86 infections of the virus, and 13 deaths.

The internationally recognised government and the World Health Organisation have criticised the rebels for their lack of transparency, as just two cases, including one death, have been recorded in territory under their control.

But the increase in deaths and cases has aid agencies concerned that community transmission has increased, particularly in the south.

"We're hearing from our teams on the ground that there are patients who are dying at the door of the hospital, there are families who have lost two or three family members in the past few weeks, so that's particularly concerning," says Yousra Semmache, advocacy media and communications director for Save the Children in Yemen.

Yemen is a uniquely dangerous place for the coronavirus to spread.

Repeated bombings and ground fighting over five years of war have destroyed or closed more than half its health facilities, while  poverty, water shortages and a lack of adequate sanitation have made the country a breeding ground for disease.

Despite international calls for a ceasefire, fighting has continued in several areas, diminishing hopes of a truce that could open doors for peace talks.

The conflict has killed over 100,000 people and has largely settled into a bloody stalemate.

The U.N. has described Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian disaster, with cholera outbreaks the worst in modern history, and more than 24 million people in the country needing humanitarian assistance, with many of them on the brink of starvation.