Yemen has been torn because of the armed conflict between the Iran-supported Houthi fighters and the Saudi-led military coalition for more than two years. Unfortunately, the war-torn nation is not only fighting to survive the conflicts but also to live through the largest cholera epidemic in the world.

The Arab country is currently facing one of the worst humanitarian crises globally. Apart from the Cholera Outbreak, Yemen is also on the verge of starvation, where more than 60 percent of the nation’s total population doesn't know where to get their food.

In addition, the United Nations (U.N.) revealed that almost two million children are suffering from acute malnutrition.

Cholera outbreak

Based on the press release from the World Health Organization (WHO), the nation's total number of suspected cholera cases has already reached 500,000 on Sunday. Ever since the beginning of the outbreak in late April, almost 2,000 people have already died, while 5,000 people are estimated to get infected on a daily basis.

According to ABC News, the U.N. has reported that the most affected victims are the elderly and the children.

The organization added that almost 30 percent of the recorded deaths are over the age of 60. But 41 percent of the suspected cases and 25 percent of the individuals who died are children.

The International non-governmental organization Save the Children added that over one million malnourished kids below the age of 5 are living in areas at high risk of contracting cholera.

In fact, one child is being infected with the disease every 35 seconds.

Deadly waterborne disease

As Yemen faces this deadly waterborne disease epidemic, many may be asking what exactly cholera is.

According to WHO, cholera is an acute enteric infection or diarrheal disease caused by the ingestion of gram-negative bacterium called Vibrio cholerae, which could be found in fecal-contaminated food and brackish water. If untreated, the disease can lead to death within hours due to shock and severe dehydration.

A person can show mild or no symptoms between 12 hours and 5 days following the ingestion of contaminated food and water. Signs and symptoms may include rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, muscle cramps, loss of skin elasticity, severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.

Even though the disease can be successfully treated with oral rehydration solution, access to safe water and sanitation also play a vital role to control the transmission of the disease.

Unfortunately, the spread of the disease seems difficult to control due to Yemen’s deteriorating health and sanitation systems.

Yemen’s health system

In some areas, the spread of the disease has significantly slowed but in affected districts, the transmission continues to increase. This is due to the fact that the nation’s health system is failing, not to mention the water supply disruptions all over the country.

The outbreak is also attributed to the nation’s deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, where clean and safe water sources aren't accessible to millions. The waste collection in major cities across the country has also stopped.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the health workers in the country are “operating in impossible conditions.” In fact, 30,000 of them have not received their salaries in almost a year.

Apart from inadequate funds, there are also shortages in supplies and medicines, and more than 50 percent of all health facilities in the country were closed due to damage and destruction. In order to address the current crisis in Yemen, Tedros is calling for support to the nation’s health system, particularly to the health workers.

US, UK blamed for Yemen-Saudi conflicts

Meanwhile, Oxfam head of advocacy Katy Wright considered Yemen’s cholera outbreak a “man-made disaster” caused by the “national and international politics.” Wright even blamed the U.K.

and the U.S. for sparking the armed conflicts in the Arab nation by giving intelligence and weaponry to Saudi Arabia, saying the two superpower nations are “complicit in the suffering of millions” of Yemenis, Common Dreams reported.