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3,000 to 5,000 new cholera cases in Yemen each day, says UN

A cholera outbreak is spreading quickly in war-ravaged Yemen, with an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 new cases every day, the UN children's agency said on Saturday.

Geert Cappelaere, the Middle East director of Unicef, said in an interview with The Associated Press that 70,000 cases of cholera have been reported in the past month in 19 of Yemen's 22 governorates.

He voiced his concern that cholera cases could double every two weeks - to 130,000 and then about 300,000 cases - unless more aid is delivered.

He says the outbreak might "spread beyond Yemen" and should worry all states neighbouring Yemen where civil war is now in its third year.

"It is sad today, but we hope the cholera outbreak will be the turning point in turning people's attention to Yemen," he said. "Cholera is not going to be stopped by any border."

The fighting has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced three million others and devastated the country's health sector and economy.

Mr Cappelaere says many patients cannot afford to travel to free clinics.

Just back from a five-day trip to the Yemeni capital Sanaa, Mr Cappelaere said the outbreak is the latest horror faced by Yemeni children alongside growing starvation, militias' recruitment of children, and rising child marriages.

"Yemen is one of the worst places in the world to be a child," he said.

AP

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