SANAA (Dispatches) – Coronavirus might pose a threat to Yemen, but it is far from being the only problem facing the war-torn country, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson.
In addition to the raging conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 100 thousand people, Yemen is also struggling to cope with constant floods and supplies
of food and clean water.
Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Yemen, with authorities reporting that two additional people have died of the virus and 19 more people have contracted the disease in the past 24 hours, Sputnik reported.
So far the war-torn country has registered 28 deaths and more than 160 confirmed cases (though reports allude that the numbers are much higher) but authorities fear that it is only a matter of time until the situation spirals out of control.
The primary reason for this worry is Yemen’s poor health system. According to estimates, Yemen has no more than 500 ventilators and 700 ICU beds nationally, whereas there is only one oxygen cylinder available per month for every 2.5 million people.
Half of Yemen’s health facilities aren’t functioning properly, and about 20 percent of the country’s 333 districts have no doctors.
To make things worse, Yemen is also struggling to test all those who suspect they contracted the disease. At the moment, according to reports citing the World Health Organization, the country has only obtained 6500 test kits with the WHO sending an additional supply of 32 thousand others but in a state where more than 40 thousand people out of the country’s total 30 million population could die because of complications caused by COVID-19, that amount will definitely not suffice.
Addressing the situation in Yemen, Yara Khawaja, the spokeswoman for the ICRC, defined the situation as "catastrophic” and explained that the situation could only get worse if the Saudi-led war continues.
Armed with American and British ammunition and European warplanes, among other Western-supported military hardware, the Saudi-led coalition invaded Yemen in 2015. Since then, over 100,000 people have been killed, according to the U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).
The Saudi-led aggression and an accompanying blockade of Yemen continue despite the coronavirus pandemic and the impoverished country’s urgent need for medical supplies.