Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

'Swine Flu' Threatens Houthi-Run Areas in Yemen

'Swine Flu' Threatens Houthi-Run Areas in Yemen

Sunday, 22 December, 2019 - 09:30
Children suffering from illness and receiving treatment in a hospital in Hajjah province, Yemen (AFP)

Houthi-run areas in Yemen continue to witness frightening outbreaks of new epidemics amid the group’s continued systematic destruction of the health sector. Houthis are notorious for plundering medical relief assistance from international organizations.

Most recently, local medical reports spotted an outbreak of swine flu, also known as H1N1 flu, in the capital, Sanaa, and other Yemeni regions run by the Iran-backed militia.

The onset of the epidemic is set to kill hundreds of Yemeni citizens amid continued disregard of Houthi leaders.

Locals in Sanaa, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat under the conditions of anonymity, said that the epidemic is widely spread in the capital’s neighborhoods and districts.

H1N1 flu, according to locals, has killed dozens so far.

Sanaa residents are currently living in a state of great fear and anxiety whereby locals stress that the high number of victims warns against a severe pandemic wave that requires urgent intervention from international organizations.

Locals are calling on international organizations to intervene away from the widespread corruption in the health sector subject to the Houthi group.

They attributed the outbreak of the epidemic to the low level of public hygiene, the accumulation of waste, and sewage overflow in poorly managed Houthi-held areas.

Medical sources in Sanaa revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that more than 1,038 suspected H1N1 cases were recorded in Sanaa and other coup-controlled since the beginning of 2019. The same sources indicated that 346 people died as a result of getting infected by swine flu.

In January, the Houthi-controlled health authorities reported the deaths of 22 people, and the infection of 107 others, raising concern in the war-torn country.

Most cases were reported from the capital Sana'a, Amran and Ibb provinces. There was no comment yet from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the report.

The country's health system has collapsed in the four-year-long civil war, triggering what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Cholera epidemic in Yemen set the world's highest record with the infection of 1 million people and confirmed deaths of over 2,000 others, according to WHO.

Editor Picks