The Saudi-led blockade of Yemen threatens to cause a potential increase in the number of deaths caused by a diphtheria outbreak, Save the Children warned on Sunday.
The organisation said that the minors are the most affected by what it described as “the worst diphtheria outbreak for a generation”. At least 52 deaths, mostly children under the age of 15, have been recorded since August.
“There’s so little help right now that families are carrying their children for hundreds of miles to get to us,” Mariam Aldogani, Save the Children’s field coordinator in the port city of Hudaida, told Al-Jazeera. “But they’re arriving too late and infecting people on the way.”
The Saudi-led coalition imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Yemen on 6 November, which aimed at stopping arms reaching Houthi rebels. The blockade was eased weeks later, but aid agencies have reported that it is still having a huge impact on the lives of Yemenis, who are experiencing what the UN has described as the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
Yemen seen violent confrontations between the Houthis and the forces of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, supported by the Saudi-led coalition, for three years. More than 10,000 people have died so far in the conflict, and millions of lives are threatened by an outbreak of cholera.
Photo credit: Map of the Urban Linguistic Landscape (Typical Police Hospital by Dorothy Zemach) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.