News Release: ICRC President Visits Yemen; 600,000 Cholera Cases Expected by End of 2017

(Sana’a/Geneva) - ICRC President Peter Maurer arrived in Yemen this morning in the midst of what is being called world's worst largest cholera outbreak. ICRC experts expect that more than 600,000 people--one in every 45 Yemenis--will have cholera before the end of 2017. 

“The great tragedy is that this cholera outbreak is a preventable, man-made humanitarian catastrophe. It is a direct consequence of a conflict that has devastated civilian infrastructure and brought the whole health system to its knees,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer. “I find this needless suffering absolutely infuriating. The world is sleep-walking into yet more tragedy.”

Read the full release here

Earlier this week, ICRC's head of delegation in Sanaa, Alexandre Faite, penned an article for Foreign Policy on the human toll of Yemen's unending war. The piece featured haunting images by ICRC's Ralph El Hage focusing on the failing health system and the resulting cholera epidemic. Cholera was also a topic of focus in last week's Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on the four famines in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria in which ICRC Director of Operation Dominik Stillhart testified.  

In response to this unprecedented epidemic, the ICRC has sent critical medical supplies from seven countries, including IV fluids, oral rehydration salts, antibiotics and chlorine tablets. ICRC health staff and engineers are supporting 17 cholera treatment facilities around the country and we are providing care to nearly one in five cholera cases in Yemen - the biggest single provider of case management and infection control in the country. To learn more about the ICRC's work in Yemen, go here