War-torn Yemen braces for worst as five more virus cases reported

War-torn Yemen braces for worst as five more virus cases reported


ADEN: Yemen s internationally recognised government reported five new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, as health and aid organisations warned the outbreak could have dire consequences in the war-ravaged country.

The United Nations has long regarded Yemen as the world ’s worst humanitarian crisis. Yemen broke out in 2014, millions of people were displaced and malnourished, “the worst cholera outbreak in modern history”, and the medical system collapsed.

To date, Yemen has largely avoided the spread of coronavirus, and only reported one case in the southern government-controlled Hadramah province in early April.

However, the committee monitoring the epidemic said on Twitter that five new cases were reported on Wednesday in the southern city of Aden (internationally recognized government temporary capital).

The separatist Southern Transition Council (STC), which controls Aden, announced that it will implement a three-day curfew in port cities and other southern provinces starting from midnight Wednesday to Thursday.

It also ordered the shopping center to close and closed restaurants and local markets for two weeks.

After that, at least 21 people were killed in flash floods where the streets and houses of Aden were destroyed.

STC announced its self-government in the south of the country on Saturday. This move was quickly condemned by the government and opposed by the Saudi-led coalition.

STC has little control outside Aden.

The conflict between the Hus insurgents allied with Iran and pro-government forces escalated in March 2015, when a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia occupied Yemen, including the capital Sana’a.

Relief agencies say that in the past six years, the conflict has killed thousands of people, most of them civilians.

The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total population, need assistance.

Millions of Yemenis have been displaced by the fighting.

The UN said Tuesday that nearly one million of those displaced risk losing their shelter, and warned of a dire funding shortfall as the COVID-19 pandemic looms.

“Yemen is already considered to be the world s largest humanitarian crisis,” UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo told a virtual news briefing in Geneva.

“The country is now also facing the overlapping threat of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of recent torrential rain and flooding.”

Also on Tuesday, the World Health Organization warned of the impact coronavirus could have in Middle Eastern conflict zones, including Yemen and Syria.

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