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Number of suspected cholera cases hits 100,000 in Yemen: WHO

An elderly Yemeni woman suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a makeshift hospital in Sanaa, on June 5, 2017.

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

A cholera outbreak in Yemen has claimed almost 800 lives and is suspected of sickening about 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization and a Yemeni health official.

Nasser al-Argaly, health undersecretary in the rebel-run government in Sanaa, said Thursday that more than 96,000 people had been infected and at least 746 had died since late April. He blamed the outbreak on the two-year-old Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels. The fighting has damaged infrastructure and caused shortages of medicine.

The WHO said the number of suspected cholera cases had risen to 101,820 with 791 deaths as of June 7. In a joint statement with UNICEF, it said that children under the age of 15 account for 46 per cent of the cases.

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"The cholera outbreak is making a bad situation for children drastically worse. Many of the children who have died from the disease were also acutely malnourished," said Dr. Meritxell Relano, UNICEF's Representative in Yemen.

Yemeni medical officials said an aid flight from the United Arab Emirates carrying 50 tons of cholera treatments arrived in the southern city of Aden, which is controlled by government forces. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition.

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