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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince gives $66.7m in aid for cholera outbreak in Yemen

Yemenis wait outside a tent where patients infected with cholera are receiving treatment at Sabaeen Hospital in Sanaa. (AFP)
Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
RIYADH: The King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) donated $66.7 million to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners to respond to the outbreak of cholera in Yemen.
The donation is an initiative of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to accelerate the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen.
The figure of $66.7 million was requested by UNICEF and the WHO as the total funding needed to effectively respond to the cholera outbreak in Yemen through a combination of water, sanitation and health care activities.
Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and general supervisor of KSRelief, was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as saying that the Kingdom is committed to working closely with its aid partners to effectively address the cholera and general humanitarian situation in Yemen. “We have listened to the call from UNICEF and WHO for an immediate donation of $66.7 million to address cholera specifically, and have acted accordingly,” he said.
“We will continue to work with our partners across a broad range of humanitarian and relief efforts for the people of Yemen.”
A cholera outbreak will probably have infected more than 300,000 people by September, up sharply from the current tally of nearly 193,000 cases, the UN said Friday.
“Probably at the end of August we will reach 300,000 cases,” UNICEF spokeswoman Meritxell Relano told reporters in Geneva during a conference call.
Since the outbreak was declared in April, an estimated 1,265 people have died, she said.
“The number of cases continues to increase,” Relano said, adding that all of the 21 governorates in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, have been affected.
She said children had been hit hard by the outbreak, accounting for half of the registered cases to date. But only a quarter of the people who have died so far were children.
Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection spread through contaminated food or water.
Although the disease is easily treatable, doing so in conflict-torn Yemen has proved particularly difficult.
According to the UN human rights agency, civilians account for nearly 5,000 of the recorded deaths and more than 8,500 of the injuries.
Yemen is on the brink of famine, with about 17 million people — two-thirds of the population — uncertain of where their next meal will come from, the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said.
“This is the largest humanitarian crisis happening in the world at the moment,” WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher told reporters.
She said the agency was scaling up its response and aimed to provide food aid to 6.8 million people across the country this month alone.
But more than half of those people will receive reduced rations because of a dire funding shortage, she warned.
— With input from AFP

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