Yemen cholera cases pass the 100,000 mark — WHO

Updated 08 June 2017
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Yemen cholera cases pass the 100,000 mark — WHO

GENEVA: The number of suspected cholera cases in war-torn Yemen has risen to more than 100,000 since an outbreak began on April 27, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.
The rapid spread of the disease through 19 of Yemen's 23 governorates highlighted a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen after two years of civil war that has disabled most health care facilities, according to the U.N. humanitarian office.
"To date, 101,820 suspected cholera cases and 789 deaths have been reported in 19 governorates," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters.
The WHO has warned that the number of cases could hit 300,000, but the daily number of new ones declined slightly in the week to June 5 to 3,432, compared with 3,651 in the previous seven-day period.
"Yemen is in the grip of a severe cholera epidemic of an unprecedented scale," the U.N. humanitarian office said in a report published on Wednesday.
"Malnourished children and women, people living with other chronic health conditions and households that do not have enough to eat are now at greater risk of death as they face the 'triple threat' of conflict, famine and cholera," it said.
The war has left 19 million of its 28 million people needing humanitarian aid and many of them on the verge of famine. The cholera outbreak is the second wave of an epidemic that began in October, spread until December and then dwindled but was never brought fully under control.
Aid charity Oxfam called for a "cholera ceasefire" to allow health workers to halt the spread of the disease, adding that the published numbers were probably an underestimate.
“Yemen is on the edge of an abyss. Lives hang in the balance," Oxfam's Yemen Country Director Sajjad Mohammed Sajid said in a statement. "Cholera is simple to treat and prevent but while the fighting continues the task is made doubly difficult."
Cholera is caused by ingesting bacteria from water or food contaminated with faeces. It usually manifests itself with sudden acute diarrhoea and can kill within hours, although three-quarters of infected people show no symptoms.
The short incubation period means outbreaks can spread quickly, especially in places without safe water or sanitation.
"Health and sanitation workers have not been paid for over eight months, only 30 per cent of required medical supplies are being imported into the country, garbage collection in the cities is irregular, and more than eight million people lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation," the U.N. report added.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.