Ex-president: Saudi Arabia to blame for Yemen cholera outbreak

Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has singled out Saudi Arabia as the source of what the United Nations estimates to be the world’s worst cholera outbreak in Yemen.

The Russia Today Arabic news channel on Saturday quoted Saleh as saying that the Saudi-led coalition was behind the spread of the highly contagious disease through the use of internationally banned weapons.

“The coalition is using devastating weapons such as cluster and thermobaric bombs which leave very harmful effects for the people of Yemen,” he added.

According to Press TV correspondent Mohammad al-Attab from Sana’a, medics have begun a field research to find out the sources of the cholera epidemic. What they have found strengthens the idea that Saudi Arabia has started a biological war against Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to restore Saleh’s successor Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a Riyadh ally, to power. Yemen’s crisis began after Hadi stepped down as president and refused to negotiate power-sharing with the country’s Houthis.

For much of the world, cholera, a bacterial infection spread by water contaminated with faeces, has been relegated to the history books. But the war has damaged Yemen’s infrastructure and deepened poverty, allowing the disease to come roaring back.

The Saudi kingdom’s targeting of hospitals, clinics, water treatment plants, and sanitation facilities has translated to 5,000 new infections every day in Yemen. To date, about 300,000 people are believed to have been infected, and more than 1,600 have died.

Currently, 21 of the country’s 22 provinces are hit by the outbreak which now threatens to spill over into neighboring countries. Cholera is a severely diarrheal disease, which can be fatal if not treated duly and properly.

Measles also prey on the vulnerable. With 1.5 million children facing malnutrition in Yemen, cholera and measles may ultimately claim an unconscionable number of young lives, according to international health organizations.

Over 12,000 have also been killed in Saudi aerial bombings and other attacks which have destroyed more than 65 percent of Yemen’s health facilities.

Saleh held the US, Britain and Israel to account, saying they are complicit in the “massacre of children and destruction of our homes” through supporting Saudi Arabia.


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