Oxfam aid is being flown out to world's worst cholera outbreak in Yemen

The agency is calling for a massive aid effort and an immediate ceasefire to allow health and aid workers tackle the cholera outbreak.

Some 39 tonnes of vital water and sanitation equipment will be loaded from Oxfam's emergency warehouse in Bicester, in the UK, between 10am and 2pm BST on Thursday 29 June, bound for Yemen as Oxfam steps up its efforts to tackle what is the world's worst cholera outbreak.

The $465,000 worth of aid will fly from London Stansted airport on Friday bound for Djibouti in Africa then onto Yemen.

It includes water storage tanks, buckets, tap stands, hand washing water dispensers, water testing and purifications kits, oral rehydration sachets, insecticide sprayers, pipes and fittings.

In just two months Yemen’s cholera epidemic has spread to nearly every corner of the war ravaged country.

The UN has warned that 6.8 million people are now a step away from famine.

Shane Stevenson, incoming Oxfam country director for Yemen, said: “This aid is vital in the battle to prevent the disease from spiralling out of control. Lives are at risk and every day that passes more lives are lost. It is essential that people get the life saving help they need.

“Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East. Its health service has been all but destroyed by two years of a brutal war.

“Efforts to beat cholera are massively undermined by the war. That is why we are calling on all parties to the fighting to agree a ceasefire to allow health and aid workers to get on with the task.”

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people in Yemen are suffering from cholera. More than 1,300 people have died - a quarter of them children. The UN is forecasting that the number of people affected by cholera will reach 300,000 by August.

The war has laid the country to waste, destroying schools, hospitals, homes and lives. It has forced 3 million people from their homes and left nearly 19 million people – almost 70 percent of the population - in need of humanitarian assistance.

 

Notes to editors

UN OCHA Jan 2017 UN Humanitarian Response Plan:

An estimated 14.8 million people lack access to basic healthcare, including 8.8 million living in severely underserved areas. Medical materials are in chronically short supply, and only 45 per cent of health facilities are functioning. As of October 2016, at least 274 health facilities had been damaged or destroyed, 13 health workers had been killed and 31 injured.

About 3.3 million children and pregnant or lactating women are acutely malnourished, including 462,000 children under 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This represents a 57 per cent increase since late 2015 and threatens the lives and life-long prospects of those affected.

An estimated 14.5 million people require assistance to ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation, including 8.2 million who are in acute need. This represents an increase of 8 per cent since late 2014, and the severity of needs has intensified.

An estimated 4.5 million people need emergency shelter or essential household items, including IDPs, host communities and initial returnees. Ongoing conflict-related displacement, as well as initial returns to some areas, are driving these needs.

Contact information

Harriet Hernando: +44 1865 472 2217 or +44 7557 077 008, hhernando1@oxfam.org.uk

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.

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