The European Commission is scaling up its response to an unprecedented cholera outbreak in Yemen with an additional €5 million, bringing total EU support for efforts to tackle the disease to €8.8 million.
“The cholera outbreak in Yemen continues to spread dramatically during the last weeks and warrants urgent action. The European Union is stepping up support to allow humanitarian partners to rapidly increase their capacity to treat people and save lives in Yemen. Crucially, humanitarian organisations must be allowed full access to do their life-saving job. While we do all we can to help those in need, only a political solution will bring this catastrophe to an end," said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
The disease has rapidly spread to 20 of Yemen's 22 governorates and has killed over 1000 people in the last eight weeks. Suspected cases of cholera are increasingly daily in the thousands and nearly 170 000 people have been affected so far.
The EU aid will support the United Nations cholera response plan which includes health treatment of cholera cases and preventive measures providing safe water and improved sanitation in high priority areas. For 2017, overall Commission humanitarian funding for Yemen to date stands at €171 million.
In March 2015, Yemen descended into widespread armed conflict. The magnitude of the cholera outbreak is a vivid illustration of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen. Two years into the conflict, the already dire humanitarian situation in the country has significantly worsened. The ongoing conflict, the destruction of basic infrastructure, compounded by the collapse of the economy and financial system has severely limited imports of food, medicine and fuel. The health sector is also close to collapse.
Humanitarian organisations estimate that 18.8 million people - almost 70% of the total population - are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Violations of International Humanitarian Law by the parties continue to be reported claiming a heavy toll on civilian lives and the destruction of infrastructure.