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Yemen’s displaced face serious disease outbreaks as Houthis’ violations continue

Yemen’s displaced face serious disease outbreaks as Houthis’ violations continue
24 Nov 2023 10:23

Ahmed Shaaban (Aden, Cairo) - Human rights experts have warned of the poor health situation faced by the Yemeni people. The situation is particularly serious in displacement camps, which lack protective measures, drinking water, and health services.

This has led to the spread of many dangerous, infectious diseases, raising concerns of an epidemic outbreak, as the healthcare system is deteriorating due to the nine-year-long war within the country.

Sources revealed that displacement camps are suffering from fever and malaria outbreaks, especially Al Jasha camps, while the Marib camps are fighting the widespread occurrence of measles and smallpox. Fahmi Al-Zubairi, Director of the Human Rights Office in Sana’a, stated that the displaced suffer from various diseases due to the camps’ poor health conditions.

He noted that the camps have poor cleanliness and sanitation, providing a fertile environment for disease-carrying mosquitoes, resulting in cases of dengue fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Al Zubairi told Aletihad that Yemen’s health system suffers from severe weakness after nine years of war caused by the Houthi group, displacing 4.5 million Yemenis, declining living conditions, and putting 21 million people in need of urgent food aid, according to UN reports.

Hospitals and health centres suffer from a shortage of medicines and staff, limiting their ability to deal with epidemics and diseases.

Al Zubairi emphasised the need for increased awareness and measures to limit the spread of fevers in the camps, adherence to cleanliness and sanitation, and increased support for the health system through the provision of medicines, staff, as well as training the existing personnel.

The Director of the Human Rights Office called on UN organisations and humanitarian agencies to provide the necessary support to the displaced individuals. Their efforts can prevent a humanitarian health disaster, escape the pressures of the Houthi group, move to safer areas, and ensure fair distribution of aid and treatments, he added.

Nabil Abdul Hafeez, Deputy Minister of Legal Affairs and Human Rights in Yemen, said that the health conditions are a concern for the displaced, especially as their numbers are increasing. Abdul Hafeez, in a statement to Aletihad, explained that health problems in displacement camps impose very large burdens on local authorities, which is what the Houthi group wants as it allows them to put pressure on people and local authorities. He stressed the importance of turning to international bodies for assistance and support.

Furthermore, he emphasised the need for international organisations to support health facilities and local authorities, alleviating the suffering of displaced Yemenis, especially amidst the outbreak of diseases.

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