The war-torn country of Yemen fights a cholera outbreak. It has now surpassed 300,000 suspected cases, the Red Cross said, outpacing by more than a month the projection made by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the end of June.
More than 1,700 associated deaths have been reported, according to the UN.
Yemen’s health, water and sanitation systems are collapsing after two years of conflict between pro-government forces and the rebel Houthi movement.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera.
ICRC regional director Robert Mardini said about 7,000 new cholera cases were being recorded daily in the capital Sanaa and three other areas.
Although the disease is easily treatable, doing so in Yemen has proved particularly difficult. The war has left less than half of the country’s medical facilities functional.
On 24 June, the World Health Organization declared that Yemen was facing “the worst cholera outbreak in the world”, with more than 200,000 suspected cases.
UN agencies say the outbreak is the direct consequence of the civil war, with 14.5 million people cut off from regular access to clean water and sanitation.
More than half of health facilities are no longer functioning, with almost 300 having been damaged or destroyed, and some 30,000 local health workers who are key to dealing with the outbreak have not been paid for 10 months.