Norway supporting efforts to fight cholera outbreak in Yemen

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Foto: Mohammed Yaseen Ahmed Ibrahim / ICRC

‘The cholera outbreak in Yemen comes on top of an armed conflict and famine that are affecting a large proportion of the population. Norway is therefore increasing its humanitarian support to Yemen by NOK 10 million, and will continue to follow the situation closely,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The cholera outbreak has spread rapidly during the past week, with cases of the disease being registered in several parts of the country. This is the second cholera outbreak in Yemen in less than a year, and according to the UN the situation is critical. The number of people infected and the number of deaths have reached the same levels in the last two weeks alone as they did in the course of two months during the previous outbreak.

‘The lack of health services and clean drinking water means that the outbreak is now spreading at an alarming pace. The capital Sanaa is most severely affected, but if action is not taken immediately to stop the spread of the disease, the outbreak could soon affect the whole country. The impact of this would be catastrophic for the people of Yemen who are already suffering so much,’ said Mr Brende.

Since the start of the two-year long civil war, half of the country’s hospitals and health facilities have been put out of action, as a result of direct military attacks or due to a lack of fuel and necessary equipment. 

According to the UN, the crisis in Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Nearly 80 % of the population – some 19 million people – are in need of humanitarian assistance.  

The new allocation from Norway comes in addition to the NOK 212 million in support announced by Mr. Brende at the recent donor conference for Yemen in Geneva. Norway’s humanitarian assistance to Yemen is being channelled through the UN, the Red Cross – Red Crescent movement, and Norwegian humanitarian organisations working with local partners in Yemen. Norway is also providing support through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which so far this year has disbursed over NOK 200 million to Yemen. CERF receives around 10 % of its funds from Norway.