Thousands of people are suffering from cholera in Yemen as the Health Ministry of the National Salvation Government declared a state of emergency.
Sanaa, the capital of the Middle Eastern state, was the scene of a high-level meeting by leading officials seeking to develop a plan to halt and eliminate the epidemic.
The meeting was chaired by the President of the Supreme Political Council Saleh al-Sammad and attended by other ranking figures within the administration. During the meeting there was an assessment of the epidemiological situation prevailing in the capital and other areas of the country.
Statistics released from the Ministry of Health indicated that 8,567 cases of the disease had been documented. A statement also stressed that the present crisis exceeded the capacity of the current government to effectively address.
An appeal for assistance was issued to international organizations. Hospitals in Sanaa were already overcrowded and a further spread of the infectious ailment would be catastrophic.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that there have been 11,000 cases of diarrhea confirmed in Yemen with many of them being related to cholera. At a press conference in Geneva on May 16, UNICEF’s spokesman Christophe Boulierac said that 130 people had died from cholera and that a third of all these cases involved children.
This disease resulting from the contamination of drinking water and lack of sanitary conditions is rapidly spreading in Yemen. With the daily bombing and shelling of civilian populated areas by the Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) forces, the basic infrastructure of the country has been severely damaged.
UN reports reveal that its agencies and their partners are supplying diarrhea disease kits, oral rehydration salts and water treatment tables to residents in the affected areas. Nevertheless, the spread of the disease is proving to be more widespread than the previous epidemic during October 2016.
Approximately 7.6 million people in this most impoverished country in the region are residing in areas designated as high risk for cholera infection. The targeting of civilian areas, electricity sources, healthcare facilities, water supplies and food storage centers indicates that the U.S.-backed military intervention is aimed at forcing the people of Yemen into submission to Riyadh, Washington and London who supply intelligence coordinates, refueling technology and military hardware for the carrying out of the war.
Trump Visit to Reinforce Imperialist Militarism in the Middle East
President Donald Trump in his first trip to the Middle East since coming to office in January is seeking to maintain the firm alliance between Washington and Riyadh. The war against the Yemeni people has escalated since the Republican president came to the White House.
Direct bombings and a deadly commando unit raid on a village in Yemen after only days in office has illustrated the expansionist program of the Trump presidency. U.S. coordination and support for the air strikes and ground assaults against the Ansurallah-led government in Sanaa is designed to wage a proxy war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Ansurallah movement has denied direct military and economic support from Tehran while the coalition of U.S.-Saudi allied forces continues their relentless attacks on Yemen. Official estimates of deaths since the bombing and ground campaign that began in March 2015 due to the war range from 5,000-12,000 people.
It has been the war that has created the monumental crisis that worsens week by week. The relentless bombing and shelling by the Saudi-GCC Coalition and their allies have destroyed the ports preventing the distribution of medical supplies, food, water, tents and blankets.
An article from the UN News Center said of the situation in Yemen that: “The United Nations refugee agency today confirmed that for only the third time this year, its field teams were able to distribute humanitarian aid in the embattled district of Mokha, in Yemen’s Red Sea governorate of Taiz. Hostilities in Taiz escalated in January, with nearly 50,000 people displaced, about 27 per cent of the internally displaced people in Yemen. The governorate also hosts about 304,000 additional displaced people.” (May 16, un.org)
This same report goes on to emphasize: “In parallel, north of Taiz, in Al Hudaydah, UNHCR team provided aid for about 17,745 people. Mr. Spindler said that aid workers noted ‘a huge spike’ in needs, with displaced people living on streets, and turning to begging and child labor to survive. More than three million who have been uprooted since the start of the conflict two years ago, and more are expected as hostilities are likely to intensify.”
The visit by the U.S. president is also related to the arming of Saudi Arabia in order that Riyadh can act as a surrogate to imperialist aims in the Middle East. A report on May 16 published by Press TV said the visit was related to a military contract worth over $100 billion. This deal will be discussed between Trump and the Saudi government.
Conditions surrounding the weapons consist of both arms sales and maintenance services. This is only the initial phase of the program which will eventually be valued at $300 billion.
Deadly Strikes against the Yemeni People Intensify
Many people are being killed in daily airstrikes and ground operations in Yemen. In response the forces allied with the Ansurallah (Houthis) and the military units of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh are inflicting casualties on the U.S.-backed units.
On May 17, Saudi fighter jets carried out four bombing raids in the Serwah district of Marib province. Bombs dropped from the aircraft hit Serwah Souk sides and Harib Nehm area.
Armed groups aligned with the Saudi-GCC Coalition launched artillery missiles into numerous neighborhoods of the same district. Extensive destruction was evident damaging homes and other structures.
Later on the same day, 23 people, including women and children, died as a result of a U.S.-backed Saudi-GCC aerial bombardment against the Mawza’a district in Taiz province. Residents said the air strikes hit an automobile in Sha’abu area in Mawza’a district as well, fatally wounding a civilian. Eyewitnesses said three children and six civilians had not been identified.
Nonetheless, the anti-U.S. forces have continued their attacks on Saudi-GCC allied fighters operating on the ground. Despite the air campaign and ground attacks in various parts of the country by armed forces operating in conjunction with the ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi exiled regime along with commandos from Riyadh, Qatar and other states, the popular forces are quite capable of retaking territory and eliminating threats.
According to Saba News based in Yemen: “The army and popular forces destroyed a military vehicle of the Saudi-paid mercenaries in northern Midi desert, a military office told Saba on Wednesday (May 17). Also, the artillery of the army shelled groups of the mercenaries in the same desert, hitting target directly, the official added.”
In another dispatch from the same above-mentioned press agency reporting on the military operations of the forces seeking to defend the National Salvation Government based in Sanaa: “The missile units of the army and popular forces fired Katyusha rockets on Saudi military sites in Najran province, a military official told Saba on Wednesday (May 17). The missiles hit a Suqam headquarters building. Moreover, the artillery of the national forces shelled gatherings of Saudi soldiers in military sites of Raqabat Al Humer, Al Qatarin hilltop and Raqabat Al Sudis, the official added.” (Saba News)
Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia connotes the continuing war policy towards Yemen, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine. The objective of the White House and its surrogates is to stifle the alliance of revolutionary anti-imperialist forces throughout the Middle East in favor of the pro-western organizations and states.
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Tuesday May 16, 2017