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Suspected cholera cases reach one million in Yemen

Suspected cholera cases reach one million in Yemen

Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition backed by the USA has conducted airstrikes to battle the Houthis, an Iran-backed rebel group that has grabbed large areas of the country, including the capital.

"It is almost impossible to accurately determine whether the suspected cases are cholera or simple diarrhoea", read a statement by the spokesperson for the coalition, refering to the numbers put forth by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has reached one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says.

The World Health Organization warned in November that some 2,200 people have already died from the waterborne disease, which has propagated rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions.

"It's probably unavoidable. We need to be ready to face another big epidemic", Marc Poncin, Yemen emergency coordinator for aid agency Doctors Without Borders, said adding that cholera may become a long-term burden as it has in Haiti. A third of victims - children.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and a humanitarian crisis unleashed in a conflict which has intensified since former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on December 4.

A new wave of cholera is expected in March or April. In June, over 200,000 people in the country were said to have been affected by the cholera epidemic.

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced 2 millions, pushing the country to the verge of starvation.

Rebel chief Abdelmalik al-Huthi said Tuesday's attack was timed to coincide with the 1,000th day of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen's conflict.

As a result of the war, in which Saudi planes targeted hospitals and medical centers in the country, the health system In Yemen has virtually collapsed, with health workers unpaid for a year.

Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it would allow the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah, vital for aid, to stay open for a month.

He said an outbreak of diphtheria emerged in early October.

Saudi Arabia said it "intercepted and destroyed" the missile.

The coalition eased the siege late last month, reopening some ports in the south of the country.

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