Yemen cholera cases pass 300,000 mark, ICRC says

A girl is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Updated 10 July 2017
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Yemen cholera cases pass 300,000 mark, ICRC says

GENEVA: A 10-week cholera epidemic has now infected more than 300,000 people in Yemen and claimed more than 1,600 lives, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday, a health disaster on top of war, economic collapse and near-famine in the impoverished country.
“Disturbing. We’re at 300k+ suspected cases with ~7k new cases/day,” Robert Mardini, ICRC regional director, said in a tweet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there were 297,438 suspected cases and 1,706 deaths by July 7, but it did not publish a daily update on Sunday when the 300,000 mark looked set to be reached. A WHO spokesman said the figures were still being analyzed by Yemen’s Health Ministry.
Although the daily growth rate in the overall number of cases has halved to just over 2 percent in recent weeks and the spread of the disease has slowed in the worst-hit regions, outbreaks in other areas have grown rapidly.
The most intense impact has been in areas in the west of the country which have been fiercely contested in the two-year war between a Saudi-led coalition and armed Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.
The war has been a breeding ground for the disease, which spreads by faeces getting into food or water and thrives in places with poor sanitation.
In the past week, a first few cases have appeared in Sayun city and Mukalla port in Hadramawt region in the east.
Yemen’s economic collapse means 30,000 health workers have not been paid for more than 10 months, so the UN has stepped in with “incentive” payments to get them involved in an emergency campaign to fight the disease.
The WHO has said its response, based on a network of rehydration points and the remnants of Yemen’s shattered health system, has succeeded in catching the disease early and keeping the death rate from the disease low, at 0.6 percent of cases.
The spread of the disease is also being limited by “herd immunity” — the natural protection afforded by a large proportion of the population contracting and then surviving the disease.
It is not yet clear how people could be affected in total. Early in the outbreak, the WHO said there could be 300,000 cases within six months, but on June 27 it said the epidemic may have reached the halfway mark at 218,800 cases.
However, since then, the daily number of new cases has risen from about 6,500 on average to about 7,200, according to a Reuters analysis of WHO data.


Iran detains ex-prosecutor convicted in 2009 torture case

Updated 22 April 2018
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Iran detains ex-prosecutor convicted in 2009 torture case

  • Mortazavi was sentenced to prison by an appeals court in December

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s official judicial news agency is reporting that police have arrested a former Tehran prosecutor who faces a two-year prison sentence over the death of prisoners following the country’s 2009 protests.
The website of the Mizan news agency said Sunday that Saeed Mortazavi had been arrested, without elaborating.
Mortazavi was sentenced to prison by an appeals court in December. That court found him indirectly responsible for the torture deaths of protesters following former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009.
Since that court decision, Mortazavi apparently couldn’t be found by authorities.
Last week, a judicial spokesman suggested publicly that Mortazavi was missing. The former prosecutor’s wife and lawyer, however, said he was only looking to appeal the ruling.
His lawyer could not be immediately reached Sunday.