News ID: 208560
Published: 0840 GMT January 22, 2018

Yemen's children face 'worst diphtheria outbreak'

Yemen's children face 'worst diphtheria outbreak'

Deaths caused by diphtheria, a serious bacterial infection, are ‘likely to rise’ in Yemen if a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led military coalition is not lifted, a major international charity has warned.

According to, Save the Children said in a statement that minors in the war-torn country were the most affected in what it called ‘the worst diphtheria outbreak for a generation’.

Diphtheria is a contagious infection that targets the body's respiratory system. Though preventable by vaccines, it can lead to breathing problems, heart failure and death.

Since August, the aid organization said it recorded at least 52 deaths from the disease, the majority of which were children under the age of 15.

Some 716 others were infected during the same time period.

"There's so little help right now that families are carrying their children for hundreds of miles to get to us," Mariam Aldogani, the group's field coordinator in the port city of Hudaida, said.

"But they're arriving too late and infecting people on the way."

According to Save the Children, the outbreak has hit the western provinces of Ibb and Hudaida the hardest.

Apart from severe food and fuel shortages, Yemen's population is already facing an ongoing widespread cholera epidemic, described as the world's worst, and an outbreak of acute diarrhoea.

The UN said that more than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has also displaced more than three million.

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