The country has been hit by an epidemic of the disease, with the World Health Organisation’s Global Health Observatory saying the disease has spread faster than any recorded case of cholera and now is the largest in modern history.
It has therefore surpassed the 815,000 cases reported over seven years in Haiti – a level which Yemen has reached in just six months.
“Cholera has been around in Yemen for a long time, but we’ve never seen an outbreak of this scale or speed,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director for Yemen.
In August, Save the Children released a study showing that more than one million children under the age of five were malnourished, with around 200,000 having severe acute malnourishment, living in areas where rates of cholera infection are very high.
Children with acute malnutrition are at least three times more likely to die from cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases.
Such diseases themselves cause further malnutrition, meaning that even if children survive the cholera outbreak they could still be pushed further into the spiral towards starvation.
“The tragedy is that both malnutrition and cholera are easily treatable if you have access to basic healthcare. But hospitals have been destroyed, 30,000 public sector health workers haven’t been paid for almost a year, and the delivery of vital aid is being obstructed.
“The world must act now to prevent more children from dying from an entirely preventable illness.”
“It has precipitated a crisis which has left seven million people on the brink of starvation. And the war has destroyed or damaged more than half the country’s health facilities and ushered in one of the world’s worst cholera outbreaks in over 50 years.
“Vital public servants such as health workers have not been paid for nearly a year. Hospitals, ports, roads and bridges have been bombed. All this is crippling efforts to tackle the cholera crisis.”
The UN Special Envoy for Yemen said on Tuesday that warring leaders in the country sought power rather than peace.
“The Yemeni people – they become poorer, whereas the leaders become richer… They are not interested in finding solutions, as they will lose their power and control in a settlement,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the UN Security Council.