Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Relief Center on Thursday signed a $ 33.7 million deal to fight cholera in Yemen, where the number of suspected cases exceeds 400,000 in a country that has “the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis.”
The agreement comes days after a memorandum of understanding that gave the center the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) $ 33 million for water purification projects and repair of the basic sanitation system to stop the spread of the epidemy in Yemen.
The two agreements are part of a $ 66.7 million grant announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in late June to help combat the deadly epidemy, the King Salman Relief Center said in a statement.
Cholera continues to spread in Yemen, with more than 436,000 suspected cases and more than 1915 deaths since April 27, 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
The Saudi relief center said Riyadh provided 550 tons of vaccines for medicines and medical supplies delivered to Yemeni areas not controlled by the Huthi rebels.
The report quoted a report by the Yemeni Ministry of Health that the cases of cholera concentrated in the governorates of Sana’a, Dali and Taiz, but the number of cases decreased significantly in Marib, Shabwa, Saadah, Mahrah and Juff.
The United Nations said Wednesday in a statement that war, hunger and cholera have made 80 percent of Yemen’s children in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
“About 2 million Yemeni children are severely malnourished, malnutrition makes them more susceptible to cholera, and the disease creates more malnutrition,” the statement said in what it called a “malignant mix.”
After more than two years of war between Yemeni-backed government forces and Shi’ite-backed Shi’ite militias in Iran, most of the infrastructure has been destroyed in Yemen and millions of people are at risk of starvation.
International donors pledged $ 2.1 billion in aid at an international conference earlier this year, but only one-third of that amount was received. Because of the deficit and the focus on fighting cholera, millions are suffering from malnutrition.
Since the beginning of the war in Yemen in March 2015, more than 8,000 people have died and more than 44,000 wounded.